Fairness tops ‘birthright’ in housing allocation poll
Community links are more important than where you were born when allocating social housing, according to a new YouGov poll commissioned by housing provider Metropolitan.
The survey revealed most people believe fairness and community participation, not nationality, should influence decisions on social housing.
The findings have been released in the wake of Labour MP Frank Field’s call for the social housing system to award priority to British taxpayers, after figures showed nearly half of tenants in some parts of London were foreign nationals.
Today’s poll suggests the public do not share Mr Field’s views. Two thirds of people questioned said birthplace should not hinder someone’s chance of qualifying for social housing, and only 22 per cent of the 1939 respondents said someone born outside of the UK should be lower down the priority list.
Barbara Roche, former MP and chair of Metropolitan, said having a stake in the local community is seen as an important factor in determining priority for housing.
‘People don’t think there is a ‘birthright’ to social housing, in fact only one in five people we spoke to thought if you were born outside the UK, but had lived here for most of your life, you should not be a priority for social housing,’ she said.
‘This is very different from the segregated society and anti-immigrant sentiment that many commentators suggest is endemic in our communities.’
The YouGov poll also showed that 46 per cent of people thought if someone had lived locally for more than two years they should be prioritized for housing in that area.
National housing supply is becoming an increasingly important issue for the government, as caps on housing benefit start to take effect.
On Sunday Mr Field outlined his controversial plans to put British citizens at the front of the housing queue.
‘For years we have been told that British people on the waiting list have been getting a fair deal,’ he said.
‘Yet, when the situation in London is examined, we find that, in reality, nobody has any idea how many new lets are going to foreign nationals and how many to British citizens.’
‘This scandal must stop. I have a bill before Parliament that will ensure that those citizens who have made most contribution to society, who have paid their taxes and whose children have not caused trouble, for example, will have first choice of any housing available. Benefits have to be earned rather than automatically allocated on need.’
Tomorrow sees the launch of the Metropolitan Migration Foundation, a centre to help and support migrants living in the UK.