Councils are to be given more power to decide their own waiting list criteria for social housing. Instead of it being entirely "needs based" they would be allowed to take into account those with "local connections" and to reward those who had got off welfare and into work.
Housing Minister Grant Shapps tells (£) the Sunday Times:
“It causes a great deal of concern and is very problematic for social cohesion when people find they aren’t provided with any preference when they are actually in the area they have lived in for a very long time.”
“Apart from a limited number of prescribed cases — homelessness, for example — there should be the flexibility to write your own waiting list criteria or your own housing allocation criteria."
Cllr Edward Lister, the Conservative leader of Wandsworth Council, says:
“If the housing allocation rules are going to be changed, we would welcome that. We want to give a measure of priority to local residents. It builds stability in the community and keeps families together.”
So another day and another piece of radical localism from the DCLG.
Housing allocation is an issue that Labour attempted to tackle but failed. As Housing Minister Margaret Hodge struggled to solve it with a centralised solution and was thwarted by colleagues who accused her pandering to the BNP.