Councils shun government advice on allocations
A significant proportion of local authorities who responded to a government consultation on housing allocations have indicated they will ignore advice to prioritise applicants who are working.
The government issued revised guidance for local authorities on the allocation of housing on Friday (29 June). This urged authorities to consider how allocation policies can be used to support households that are working or want to work, and suggested preference might be given to people in employment-related training or low-paid jobs.
The proposals were published for consultation in January, with responses due in by the end of March.
A summary of the 224 responses published alongside the guidance states more than half of local authorities that responded do not currently have an allocations policy that favours people in work. Less than a third of these said they had definite plans to change their policy in light of the guidance, and more than a third said they had no intention of doing so.
Typical concerns were that it would be too difficult to check whether people were seeking work. One provider noted: ‘We do not think it would be practical to give priority to people seeking work, because most people out of work would be able to classify themselves as seeking work.’
The guidance also encourages local authorities to favour applicants with links to their community, and carers, adoptive parents, and foster carers, as well as former members of the armed forces. It states the government will legislate to force local authorities to produce allocation policies that mean former members of the armed forces will be allocated housing ahead of other people if they have the same level of need.