Evening Standard Article: Our Plans To Reward Work In Housing Queue

Article in Today's London Evening Standard on our plans to back employed in council housing queue:

"Unemployed people will be sent to the back of the queue for council housing under a London scheme set to be copied across the country.

Westminster is prioritising those with jobs as it bids to bring down its housing benefit bill. Adults who have been in work for two years- or actively seeking a job - will leapfrog those on the dole.

The Government immediately praised the scheme. Politicians from the three main parties are warning that the multi-billion-pound benefits bill has to be cut.

Housing minister Grant Shapps told the Standard: "Hardworking families instinctively know that the 'something for nothing' culture has to end and so it's right that councils are able to reflect local priorities in their housing policy."

With other town halls expected to follow Westminster's lead, he added: "Local authorities of all political persuasions are introducing measures to ensure that people who work hard, play by the rules and are responsible, get fair access to housing in this country."

In his speech to the Labour conference, party leader Ed Miliband also vowed to end the "something for nothing culture" and wants people who work or volunteer to get priority over benefit claimants on housing lists.

Richard Blakeway, Boris Johnson's housing adviser, said: "The Mayor supports anything which promotes people to get into work while balancing this with the responsibility to help the most vulnerable." The Coalition is imposing new caps of £400 a week on housing benefit and of £26,000 a year on overall benefits per household, though, this policy could be weakened slightly.

Ministers argue that people living on benefits should not be handed state payouts allowing them to live in homes which working families can only dream of buying or renting.... [Full article]"

Starting in 2012 Westminster Council will award 50 points to people who have been in work for more than two years, or at least looking for a job for the same period.

As cabinet member for housing and corporate property, I am delighted that we can introduce this scheme which acknowledges and rewards people who are contributing to the economy.

Westminster has gone from having 48 per cent of people in social housing not working to 68 per cent. We have got so many people not working that it gives worklessness an attractiveness as a way of life.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, 28 September 2011. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed.