The 14 Words

Saturday, 5 October 2013

One council house in ten goes to migrants and most the one's that are already occupied are occupied by non-indigenous tenants

One in ten of the families given taxpayer-subsidised social housing last year was foreign, figures revealed yesterday.

They show that the rate at which newly arrived immigrants acquire council and housing association homes has gathered pace even in the face of deep public concern.

The proportion of foreign citizens taking advantage of the diminishing supply of publicly-subsidised homes has risen by more than 50 per cent in five years.

In March, David Cameron pledged to stop foreigners taking advantage of state housing by introducing a residence test. It would require immigrants to wait two years before qualifying for social housing.

Yesterday, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles blamed Labour for allowing local people ‘to be pushed out of the housing queue by foreign nationals’. He said ‘tough new guidance’ to give priority to local residents would be published soon.

The Daily Mail revealed in July that nearly half a million immigrants who came to Britain in the decade after 2001 were housed in taxpayer-subsidised social homes. The new count was published by the Department of Communities and Local Government in a rundown of social housing statistics for the year to March.

They showed that foreign citizens made up 10 per cent of those newly given social housing, up from nine per cent the previous year and 6.5 per cent in 2008. That represents 23,000 homes. It is estimated that the cost to taxpayers for those homes over their useful life is £1.5billion.

The true figure is likely to be higher because many immigrants take up British citizenship shortly after arrival.

The last national census in 2011 revealed that 13 per cent of people in state-subsidised homes were born outside Britain, which represents 1.2million households. One in five of the social tenants in London is a citizen of neither Britain nor Ireland.

The new figures brought calls for action from the pressure group Migrationwatch, which has pushed for councils to provide better information on who is being given state housing.
‘These figures confirm that the occupancy of social housing by those born overseas is far higher than has been generally realised, or even admitted,’ said chairman Sir Andrew Green.

‘The Government’s proposed action on this front would be welcome to many people.’
Mr Cameron made his promise to intervene in a speech in March, in which he said: 
‘We cannot have a culture of something for nothing. New migrants should not expect to be given a home on arrival.

‘So, I am going to introduce new statutory housing allocation guidance this spring to create a local residence test. What this should mean is that local people get priority in the social housing system.

‘And migrants will need to have lived here and contributed to this country for at least two years before they can qualify.’
However, the Immigration Bill that was to contain the residency test has yet to be published, and no guidance for councils and housing associations has been laid down.

Mr Pickles said yesterday that it soon would be.
‘The Labour government opened the doors to uncontrolled immigration, and allowed local residents to be pushed out of the housing queue by foreign nationals,’ he said.

‘This perception of unfairness has undermined community cohesion and fuelled further unsustainable immigration.

‘This Government is introducing greater transparency and honesty in immigration statistics, stopping Labour councils from covering up the true level of social housing being given to foreigners.
‘Many Left-wing town halls, incorrectly obsessed with equality rules, have failed to use their new powers to give greater backing to local people.’

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