Apr 15 2012
The Government should review who is given priority in housing queues after figures showed that nearly half of new tenants in some parts of the capital were born abroad, an MP has said.
Frank Field, who led a review into poverty in Britain for David Cameron, said those "who have made most contribution to society, who have paid their taxes and whose children have not caused trouble" should be pushed to the front of the queue.
His comments came as a study by the campaign group Migration Watch UK showed foreign nationals accounted for 45% of new social housing tenants in Ealing, and 43% in Haringey, last year.
In Ealing and Haringey, only 2% and 1% of lets were missing nationality information, but in some boroughs more than a third of new tenants had no nationality recorded, leading to significant gaps in the official data.
Mr Field said prioritising those who had contributed the most would be a major change to the welfare state in which "benefits have to be earned rather than automatically allocated on need".
"For years we have been told that British people on the waiting list for social housing are getting a fair deal," Mr Field said.
"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."
In 2010-11, 8.6% of all new social housing tenants were foreign nationals, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) figures showed.
In London, where 362,000 people were on the waiting list in 2010, the figure rises to 11% on average, with 45% in Ealing, 43% in Haringey and 20% in Wandsworth.