Although there appears to be a ministerial vacancy for housing policy (https://www.gov.uk/government/ministers/minister-of-state–11 h/t to Martin Partington and Jules Birch), quite a lot is happening. There are some interesting goings on about the allocation of social housing. In a consultation paper (responses by 22nd November 2013 to email@example.com), Providing social housing for local people, DCLG are suggesting upping the ante by altering the Code of Guidance. It proposes:
- the new guidance should “strongly encourage” local authorities to include a two year residency qualification;
- other criteria for people who are “strongly associated” with the area (eg family association and employment);
- the need for appropriate exceptions (eg domestic violence);
- and more stuff about the armed forces.
And what of the people who don’t meet the residency criteria – for them, the “housing options model”, with basically a single option: the private rented sector. I’m particularly enjoying (not):
We would propose, therefore, that the guidance reminds local authorities of the desirability of operating a housing options approach alongside a restricted waiting list. In the case of foreign nationals who are sleeping rough, appropriate options might include reconnection to their own country.
There’s also stuff about publishing data on websites, so as to emphasise the localness of applicants/allocants (apologies if I’ve just made up that word).
Of course it’s all a sop to the BNP/UKIP nonsense (peddled not just by the Coalition, of course); and frankly makes me wish that there really is a housing policy ministerial vacancy. The equalities impact assessment would be likely to make interesting reading.