Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Myths, Lies and Hate about Immigration and Public Housing

Racist lies put out by the BNP and their “Daily Hate” cheerleaders are pretty much exposed by research from the National Housing Federations (aka the “Fed” in Housing Association circles).

The BNP have somewhat successfully peddled the myths that homes are being given to immigrants ahead of “local families”. Which those of us who actually work in providing front line housing services have always known to be rubbish. The Fed reveals that in 2008/09 only 4.6% of lettings went to non-UK citizens.

This builds on other published research by the Local Government Association and the Equality and Human Rights Commission that only 2% of people who live in public housing were born outside the UK and that most new migrants end up in the “bottom end of private housing”.

This will give me some information to use when out canvassing and you come across people who genuinely believe that the only reason why they or their children cannot be rehoused is due to "immigrants". Sometimes they are even black Brits who have swallowed the racist’s line in frustration at their own personal overcrowding housing misery.

Now, I support in principal the idea that there should be a greater priority in local authority waiting lists for “local people”. But until we start building sufficient new homes for rent for those in the greatest of need as well as for general needs it is all simply moonshine.

What we need is political will and action - a mass national housing programme - this is as evidence based and joined up thinking as you can get it.


Charlie Marks said...

The BNP/HateMail success in this regard has been due to increased competition for resources like housing at a time when supply has been shrinking. Linking right to buy with availability should be given some thought - in areas where there's a high demand for social housing, it doesn't make sense to be selling it off.

John Gray said...

Hi Charlie
Very true in parts of London and elsewhere but the BNP have also got support in areas where there is no absolute housing shortage.

Labour needs to demonstrate that it believes in those traditional British values of democracy, fairness; justice and equality which is of benefit all our communities. This is our British way - not that of Nazism.