Most people on waiting lists for social housing in Bolton will never be given a home, it has been revealed.

There are now thousands of people waiting for housing across the borough, a situation described as a “crisis” only last November.

But Cllr Sean Fielding, of Breightmet, says he has been told most of these people will never be given homes, which the borough’s biggest housing provider Bolton at Home has now confirmed.

Cllr Fielding said: “The most difficult cases I get are when people ask me for help with rehousing.

“More often than not there is nothing I can do to help people secure a social rented home.

The Bolton News: An abandoned house on New Lane, BreightmetAn abandoned house on New Lane, Breightmet (Image: Public)

“Having spoken with Bolton at Home and Homes for Bolton I’ve been told that most people on the waiting list will never secure social housing and would be better looking at alternative arrangements.”

He added: “Clearly this is because of the failure, over many years, to build enough genuinely affordable homes and failure to replenish those lost through right to buy.

“I think we need to be more upfront about saying this publicly so people don’t waste years languishing on the waiting list holding out a false hope that they will be allocated a home.”

Right to Buy refers to a controversial policy introduced in 1980 that allows council and some housing association tenants to buy their homes at discounted prices.

Supports say this has allowed far more people across the country to own property but critics argue that it has slashed social housing stock over the years.

Right to Buy was abolished in Scotland in 2016 and Wales in 2019 but remains in force in England.

In Bolton there are currently around 9,000 people on waiting list for social housing.

The number of empty houses across the borough, coming to more than 7,000, has also drawn criticism in recent months.

In response, Bolton at Home has said that the pressure it faces to get people housed are similar everywhere across the country and that it “can’t meet everyone’s needs.”

But the group says it still hopes to do all it can to build more affordable homes and to bring older empty homes back to use.

Bolton at Home group director of customer and communities Gemma Parlby said: “It’s no secret that demand for affordable housing continually outstrips supply and this is a challenge across the whole of the UK.

“It’s not a situation that’s unique to our communities in Bolton and elsewhere in the North West. 

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“We always want to help as many people as possible to have a safe, secure and affordable place to live.

“However, we’re only one provider and can’t meet everyone’s needs.

“We have to focus on the things that are in our control like building new affordable homes that meet a diverse range of needs, continually re-investing in our existing homes, and bringing empty homes back into use.

“We work closely with other agencies and housing providers across the region and help people to explore their housing options.”