Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Labour play the housing race card

The scale of the collapse of Labour's support in many traditional white work class areas is really worrying Labour. The rise of the BNP vote in towns and cities in the north and north west is truly shocking. Barnsley for example saw the BNP gain more than 30% of the vote. It is for this reason that Labour today has suggested that Council's can give greater weight to 'local people' waiting for a long time on housing weighting lists. This move is clearly pandering to the racist view that politically correct local authorities are housing people from outside the community -i.e. foreigners, refugees and asylum seekers. The move is likely to be open to legal challenge and judicial review. The reality is that 99% of desperately needed social housing is allocated to those on the housing register, families in acute housing need facing homelessness, chronically over-crowded and those who have to be moved to allow blocks of flats to be demolished to allow decent homes to be built. In reality their is no housing waiting list -rather a housing register. People are registered and an assessment is made of peoples housing pressures and people given a "banding". Strict criteria apply -eligibility to public funds, a local connection, photographic ID, often a home visit is made to ensure people are telling the truth. Most local authorities now operate choice based letting schemes www.lewishamhomsearch.org.uk People self select and express an interest in a property and make a bid according to their banding. Successful matches of people to property are allocated the property strictly according to date order. The welcome, but limited news that local council's can in the future retain receipts from sales of council houses is good news. This however is a drop in the ocean of housing need. Only 110,000 homes are planned. Millions are waiting for an affordable home and on housing registers.

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