A variety of local news sources have reported anger over the large number of properties that are left empty each year.

According to the Express and Star Staffordshire, more than 11,000 properties are sitting empty across this region and the Black Country. At least 1,526 have been vacant for over two years according to Government data conducted in October 2021.

Shropshire Star report a similar phenomenon and state thousands of properties sit empty each year despite the area continuing to be faced with homelessness. Government data shows at least 4,071 empty properties in the area. According to the Dorset Echo, Dorset Council has said it is in the process of taking enforcement action over 59 long term empty properties in the county.

After councils across the country recorded hundreds of thousands of empty homes, campaigners say abandoned dwellings should be repurposed to tackle England’s housing crisis.

Across England, the number of empty homes fell by two percent to 468,000, while the number of second homes dropped by four percent to 253,300. A Government spokesperson claims they have taken significant action to prevent empty homes, including giving councils more power to increase tax on empty homes and second homes. Nationally, around 72,000 dwellings were subject to a council tax premium in October, around a fifth of which had been abandoned for between five and 10 years and 10 per cent for more than a decade.

Polly Neate, chief executive of housing shelter, commented on the country’s housing emergency and said “it is deeply frustrating when so many people are in desperate need of a home. It’s so wrong to see so many properties sat empty” but added “even if we filled every empty house, we still wouldn’t solve the shortage we face”.

The Local Government Association has called on the Government to give local authorities greater powers to acquire empty homes. We need more housing and bringing empty homes back into use can help us achieve that.