Westminster Hour tonight – where we discussed Margaret Hodge’s thesis that ‘indigenous’ families should get housing priority over newly arrived people.
I think Margaret’s language is ill-advised – as it is about fairness and transparency in the allocation of housing and not about race. But I wrote a chapter in the book Britain after Blair on this very issue, as in Haringey – where we have a desperate housing need and high immigration – these issues walk into my surgery week after week. What is actually the case is there is a clash – but it’s not racial – anyway not here in Haringey.
It’s a clash between the ‘already here’s’ – and they are of every race and culture – versus the ‘newcomers’. And the system of points for housing that gives priority to number of children, illness, etc often results in what either is or looks like queue jumping. That does cause resentment. What we need is a system that is both fair and transparent. It’s difficult to balance the rights of those who have already been waiting with those newly in need, but it’s a balance we have to strike – and in an open, transparent way so that people can have confidence in the system.
(For the wider contrext, see my speech at the book’s launch).
One in 10 children, in England, live in an overcrowded household. This equates to half a million households – enough to fill around 33,000 classrooms. In addition to this, thousands of children and young people live either in bed and breakfast or private accomodation. But, let us continue to invite half of planet to Britain.But, I don’t think any politician would understand what is really feels like, particularly when most of them earn £70,000 salaries. Nor can anyone else living in comfort.As part of the BBC’s No Home series looking at homelessness in Britain today, Brian Woods’s documentary Evicted follows the stories of three young women as their families are made homeless.Evicted was an emotional film from BAFTA award-winning director Brian Woods. It was a damning indictment of the failure of the government to adequately address the problem of homelessness in 21st century Britain. It followed three young girls and their families into the nightmare of homelessness and their search for a home.You can view the whole six part documentary on youtube- but the first one is below- If this does not break your heart, I don’t want what will! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U4jFrKvI1M&mode=related&search=ThanksMash