Tory housing minister Grant Shapps announces radical reforms
22nd November 2010: New immigrants may soon find themselves at the bottom of council house waiting lists, with local authorities being given the power to decide who qualifies for social housing in their area.
At the same time, immigrants with families found to be homeless will still have to be housed.
The development is significant as some of the political parties have since been demanding ‘British homes for British workers’. The new arrivals have also been blamed for jumping the queue.
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 changes now being adopted indicate people with established links to the area could be given priority over newly-arrived migrants.
According to the system introduced in 2002 by Labour, anyone could apply. But, in the absence of town hall control, it was alleged the newly-arrived immigrants “jump the queue”.
As per the radical reforms to be announced by Tory housing minister Grant Shapps, councils will have the right to set criteria for the housing lists, including favouring local residents.
The reforms also enable the Town halls to turn down the request of people who have applied for housing in another district.