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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 July 2007, 11:06 GMT 12:06 UK
Family's overcrowding nightmare
Ward family
The Ward family have been on the waiting list for six years
For the eight years since their daughter was born, Ray and Louise Ward have known that they need a bigger house.

For the moment Jordyn is on the bottom tier of the bunk bed she shares with her big brother Louis.

With their teenage years coming closer, the children will need the privacy of their own room, which is why their parents have repeatedly applied for a move to a three bedroom council house in Birkenhead.

The family were put on the Wirral Council waiting list six years ago and then two years ago they were given urgent need status.

"We expected to get a property within six months but that hasn't happened," Mr Ward told BBC Radio 4's File On 4.

"We were told by the council we had no chance. It's disgusting."

The family claim they will have to apply on one of the so-called No-Go estates which critics of the current housing law say concentrate anti-social tenants and problem families in one place.

"I said so 'have I got to be a drug addict or out of prison or an immigrant to get on the list' and I was told yes.

"It's disgusting - decent British people are getting pushed to the back, it's not fair".

Wirral Council would not comment on an individual case but told File On 4: "We endeavour to find homes for all Wirral residents on the database but must stress that it is difficult to do so when they want homes in particularly popular areas and have specific demands."

A mile across town, James Toole has been stuck on the list for 14 years, as he waits to find a new property away from the anti-social youths who blight his neighbourhood.

His problem is that the house he has lived in since 1992 is deemed as adequate.

'Decent citizens'

He applies six to eight times a year and has lost hope of getting a new home but adds, " I have to keep on trying."

Their local MP Frank Field, a former Labour minister, argues current housing law - with its preference for housing need rather than time on the waiting list - discriminates against model tenants and makes council estates deteriorate further.

"Decent citizens should be rewarded," he said.

In the meantime with a social housing stock depleted by the great council house sell off of the 1980s there seems to be little hope for families such as the Wards or Mr Toole.

Learn more about this story on File on 4, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday 17 July 2007 at 2000 BST and again on Sunday 22 July 2007 at 1700 BST.

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Playing the housing waiting game
17 Jul 07 |  File on 4

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