Innvandring

Hvem bor i kommunale boliger?

Engelske myndigheter vil ikke lenger oppgi andelen ikke-britiske statsborgere som bor i kommunale boliger. Man frykter at dersom tall legges på bordet vil dette utløse økt bekymring for den høye innvandringen.

Tenketanken Migration Watch er ute med ny rapport og bekymrer seg over at ventelisten til kommunale boliger er ti ganger høyere enn eksisterende boliger. I fjor innrømmet regjeringen at nesten 800 000 offentlig eide boliger er bosatt av personer med utenlandsk statsborgerskap

Et Labour-medlem av parlamentet mener at når eksempelvis lokale familier øst i London avslås kommunal bolig, mens nye innvandrere får tilsga på smame bolig, øker støtten til det ytterliggående partiet British National Party.

Det anslås at bare i London er utgiftene til kommunale boliger 50 milliarder £ årlig.

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Under Tony Blair’s government, senior Labour MPs complained the way in which local families in East London had failed to get public housing while new migrants succeeded had swelled support for the British National Party.

Last year the Government acknowledged that nearly 800,000 public-owned houses are occupied by foreigners. Councils are trying to cover up the number of taxpayer-subsidised homes they are handing to foreigners, it was claimed yesterday. Local authorities have stopped giving figures for how many houses and flats they have given to foreign citizens amid rising worries over the impacts of immigration, a report said.

Councils in London, where one in five publicly-financed homes are already known to be occupied by foreigners, are among those no longer supplying the figures. Now MPs have called for an inquiry into the suppression of information on who gets council and housing association homes.

Labour’s Frank Field and Tory Nicholas Soames said in a statement on behalf of the cross-party Balanced Migration group: ‘This is a huge issue for many people. ‘The Government must now launch a full inquiry into what is going on in the allocation of social housing in London.’ The way subsidised homes have been going to foreign citizens and not to families with long-standing local connections has become politically sensitive as immigration hits record levels and the recession has undermined ordinary people’s ability to afford to buy or rent private homes.

Under Tony Blair’s government, senior Labour MPs complained the way in which local families in East London had failed to get public housing while new migrants succeeded had swelled support for the British National Party. Last year ministers acknowledged that a fifth of the nearly 800,000 publicly-owned homes in London are occupied by families and individuals who are citizens of other countries and not of Britain.

The report from the Migrationwatch think tank said that local authorities in London are now disclosing the nationality of new tenants for fewer than half the homes they let. Four authorities – Greenwich, Hackney, Lambeth and Newham – have declined to take part in the Government’s count of social housing lettings even though it is a legal requirement for them to do so.

Two more councils, Ealing and Haringey, where there are high numbers of foreign citizens in social housing, have obscured their latest figures by claiming high numbers of tenants refuse to say what their nationality is. The report said that since waiting lists for social housing are ten times longer than the number of homes made available each year, only a small proportion of families that ask will ever get a house from a council or a housing association.

Migrationwatch added: ‘It is important to be clear that the debate should be about foreign nationals, not people who are foreign born, who should be treated like any other British citizen.’

Its chairman Sir Andrew Green said: ‘It is deeply unsatisfactory that the information on new lets should be so chaotic given the huge importance of this issue to so many families. The Government must make the nationality question compulsory. This could provide the basis for a renewed debate on the criteria by which social housing should be allocated.’

Coalition ministers have made some changes to social housing allocation rules since 2010, with the aim of giving a greater claim to families with close connections to a local area. Councils in London let 404,000 houses and flats while state-subsidised housing associations, which do declare the nationality of tenants, have 376,000.

Before the recession Whitehall calculations said that the cost to taxpayers of each socially-owned house or flat was on average £62,000. The figure suggests social housing in London has cost taxpayers almost £50billion.