IMMIGRATION, teenage pregnancies and family break-ups have all been put forward as possible causes of a rise in the number of people waiting for a council house.

A full meeting of Basildon Council tried to pinpoint why more than 4,000 people are currently waiting to be housed.

The council claimed in its latest budget the building of new homes will be made a priority, although the Tory administration insist this will be in the form of “desirable family properties” and not “unattractive estates”.

Tory councillor Stephen Hillier, who represents the Langdon Hills ward, believes that a rise in immigration has caused a strain on housing demand, both locally and nationally.

Daniel Munyambu, who recently rejoined the Labour party following a spell with the Independent group, puts the problem down to both growing and disbanding families.

Basildon Council wants to ensure that any empty homes are brought up to an appropriate standard and is spending tens of millions on its housing stock over the next four years.

The cash will include £37million towards renovating properties, £1million for improving communal heating systems, £2million on general improvements to council estates, £12million a year for repairs, and £500,000 on building affordable homes.