Emergency building programme called for as waiting list for public housing set to top 2 million

Record levels of people in the UK will be on waiting lists for public housing by 2011, the National Housing Federation has warned.

The body said that the addition of 200,000 families over the next two years would push the figure to around 2 million, as repossessions and unemployment take their toll. It urged the government to introduce and emergency housebuilding programme.

Director Ruth Davison said: "We are currently witnessing a dramatic surge in the demand for social housing, as the recession really starts to bite.

“The housing crisis is now so great that, unless dramatic action is taken, it may take decades for the nation to recover.”

The body said the government should make plans to build 100,000 social homes over the next two years to plug the housing gap and boost the economy.