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Brown’s anti-immigrants housing plans come under criticism

Reports indicate “queue jumping” by immigrants is a myth
30 June 2009: Gordon Brown’s housing plans have come under severe criticism and have been condemned as ‘desperation’.

He has also been blamed for succumbing to pressure posed by British National Party’s two-seat success; and for virtually allowing it to dictate the policies.

It brought out warnings from the opposition and immigration groups, which said the Prime Minister was allowing the BNP to set the political agenda.

It is also believed an exhaustive national survey would expose as a myth the claim that immigrants jumped the queue for council houses; and the two-year investigation has failed to bring to the fore queue jumping by immigrants.

Reports based on research carried out last year also suggest 90 per cent of people in council properties were born in Britain. The new arrivals just represented 2 per cent of the general population, but less than 3 per cent of those in social housing.

The reports further suggest the new migrants were eventually putting up in private rented accommodations. In fact, it has also been found while over 60 per cent of the new migrants were in private rented accommodation, 18 per cent were going in for their own homes. Just 11 per cent were in the queue for the council property.

A substantial number of immigrants, like Poles and other east and central Europeans, were ineligible for council accommodation. This was because they were not working in the country long enough to qualify.

While the government said the move was aimed at providing greater flexibility to the councils, Tory leader David Cameron warned the ministers risked arousing tensions with expressions designed to react to the BNP’s successes. He was of the opinion the government ministers ought to be careful with the language. He also expressed apprehension that ‘local homes for local people’ may become ‘British jobs for British workers’, which did considerable damage to the Prime Minister’s credibility and helped build up parties no one wanted to build.

The housing plan was also criticized by Coun John Lines, Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for housing. He was of the view it was a bit late to start attempts at rectifying 12 years of total neglect and disregard for housing and immigration; and it sounded like desperation.

Chief executive of the Immigration Advisory Service Keith Best said the government was playing to a particular constituency. The hard right was spreading mischief around people to indicate immigrants were taking their homes and jobs.

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