Brit taxpayers should jump housing queue says MP
The government’s so-called ‘poverty Czar’ has said that a review of the housing allocation system is required to give priority to British taxpayers.
Labour MP Frank Field, who led an independent review on poverty and life chances, called on the coalition to ensure that people on housing waiting lists ‘who have made most contribution to society, who have paid their taxes and whose children have not caused trouble’ should be given priority.
Mr Field was speaking after a study from campaign group Migration Watch showed that in parts of London, foreign nationals made up nearly half of all new social housing tenants.
‘For years we have been told that British people on the waiting list have been getting a fair deal,’ continued Mr Field. ‘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. This would be a major change in our welfare state whereby benefits have to be earned rather than automatically allocated on need.’
Communities and Local Government department figures show that in 2010/11, 8.6 per cent of all new social housing tenants were foreign nationals. However, Migration Watch research, focused on the capital, found that at least 11 per cent of social housing lets in London were given to foreigners. But the group’s study found that many councils failed to record the nationality of up to one third of their new tenants.
In Ealing, 45 per cent of recorded new lets in 2010/11 were for non-British tenants, while that figure was 43 per cent in Haringey.
‘The records are in chaos,’ said Sir Andrew Green, chair of Migration Watch. ‘British people who have lived in the area for many years are given little or no priority.
‘What is clear is that the proportion of new lets going to foreign nationals in London is far higher than has previously been admitted. We call for a full government enquiry to establish the facts. We also call for a new policy which would ensure that only those who are, or have become, British Citizens are considered for social housing.
‘Foreign nationals would still get housing allowance but not social housing; there is no reason why they should be entitled to subsidised housing provided by British taxpayers while British citizens spend years in the queue.’