Shelter Responds To Minister’s Immigration Comments

Shelter responds to ministers immigration comments

Monday, 21 May 2007

Shelter has responded to comments from a government minister that British families should have priority for social housing over new arrived immigrants, with the exception of refugees.

Industry Minister Margaret Hodge made her comments in the Observer in an article entitled “A message to my fellow immigrants”.

She wrote that the Government “prioritised the needs of an individual migrant family over the entitlement that others feel they have to resources in the community. So a recently arrived family with four or five children living in a damp and overcrowded privately-rented flat with the children suffering from asthma will usually get priority over a family with less housing need who have lived in the area for three generations and are stuck at home with the grandparents.”

She also wrote: “We should look at policies where the legitimate sense of entitlement felt by the indigenous family overrides the legitimate need demonstrated by the new migrants.”

In response, Adam Sampson, chief executive of Shelter, said:

“These comments perpetuate the myth that social homes are given to new immigrants coming to the UK at the expense of the indigenous population – when in fact homes are allocated by balancing what people are entitled to against immediate housing need.

“The real problem is the desperate shortage of social housing, which is why Gordon Brown must now deliver on his commitment last week to build more social homes to tackle the ever-deepening housing crisis.”