British-born families to get preference over immigrants in housing sector.

Labour’s knee-jerk reaction to BNP’s success to throw immigrants out of the housing race

29 June 2009. Instead of building more houses to beat the far-Right Britisn National Party, Labour has decided to give the British-born families prefrence over the immigrants in the housing sector.

Under current rules, council housing is allocated on need basis. The homeless and ones with young children are first to benefit. It was being felt by some that the rules were helping the newly arrived immigrants, as they were bring large families to the UK. In the process, they were overtaking smaller British families; some of them waiting in the queue for years.

Once implemented, the new plan will see British-born families jump the queue for council housing, ahead of immigrants and asylum seekers.

The plan is likely to be greeted with criticism and skepticism, as it would be politically difficult to deny housing to homeless immigrant families.

The decision is being seen by the critics as knee-jerk reaction to BNP’s two-seat success in the recently held elections, even as analysist believe the immigrants are not contributing to the housing shortage; and the rise of the BNP is a direct consequence of Labour’s failure to represent the interests of the core voters. In fact, reports say there hasn’t been a council home built in Birmingham for 12 years now.

It is being felt ‘British homes for British workers’ plan is one of measures Gordon Brown is adopting re-launch his “premiership”; and win back Labour’s working class heartlands, where BNP has witnessed an increase in support.

The BNP had apparently exploited the sense of grievance in working class British households at the rising tide of immigration. As of now, around 10,000 immigrant families are on an average annually given council houses. Nearly four million people, or 1.6million households, are currently on waiting lists for social housing, and only 170,000 come free each year.

The policy comes despite warning by Labour backbenchers to the leadership not to get panicked into populist policies by the BNPs recent electoral success.

Under the new policy, Labour is expecting additional freedom for the council chiefs to shape up their own rules. Councils will, rather, be given greater flexibility in methods to allocate housing. Weightage will be given to those growning up in a particular area, or on the waiting list for a long time.

Immigrants and other people hoping  to move into an area where they had few links would be moved down the priority list.

Besides housing, the other ideas include: Handing cancer patients a legal right to see a specialist within two weeks and get treatment within 18 weeks; using taxpayers’ money to send them private, if they can’t get local treatment in time on the NHS; giving everyone over 40 a firm entitlement to a free health check-up; and letting schools take parents of bullies and disruptive pupils to court.

Besides this, every pupil struggling with English or mathematics is being promised the right to personal private tuition. The parents too get the power to rate their child’s school and help decide its place in national league tables.

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