Changes to housing allocation rules will have little impact on immigrants’ access to social housing
Will the plan announced this week by the prime minister to implement a two-year waiting period for non-UK born nationals to qualify for access to a social home make a difference? The answer from social landlords is a resounding ‘no’.
Since the Localism Act 2011 came into force councils have been encouraged to better reflect local circumstances in allocation policies. As a result councils such as Peterborough, where immigrants make up a fifth of the population, have already moved to introduce a two-year waiting list qualification period. But, according to local landlord Cross Keys Homes, this is more to ease the demand caused by welfare reform than immigration, which national figures bear out. There were 148,700 new tenancies let in England in 2011/12. Of these, 13,375 (9 per cent) were for new, non-UK born households. Yet in 2011, 13 per cent of English residents were born overseas. There are no figures showing the number of overseas-born households receiving a social tenancy within two years of arriving in England, but anecdotally social landlords suggest the figure is close to zero.