Posted by: maryportagainstracism | April 21, 2008

Another immigration myth

There is no evidence that new migrants are jumping the queue for council and housing association homes to the detriment of any other group, including white families, according to new research.

The study, published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Local Government Association, found that more than 60% of new migrants to Britain in the last five years are living in private rented accommodation, with most newly arrived migrants banned from access to social housing.

The study, carried out by the Institute for Public Policy Research, follows claims by the culture minister, Margaret Hodge, and others last year that the housing system gives priority treatment to recently arrived migrant families over the entitlement that others felt they had to resources in the community. The interim findings of the research, based on a snapshot of council housing allocations and a poll of local authority housing managers, says there is no evidence to suggest that the present system of social housing demonstrates measurable bias against any group, including UK-born nationals.

The IPPR study shows that out of the 10.1 million council and housing association tenants in Britain, 9 million are UK-born and just over 1 million were born outside the country. It adds that only 183,300 – less than 2% – of tenants arrived in Britain in the last five years and most of the 1 million are long-settled migrants who have been here for years and may have become British citizens.

The analysis of housing for new migrants to the UK who have arrived over the last five years, including those from Poland and other east European countries, shows 60% living in private rented accommodation, 18% owner-occupiers and only 11% allocated to social housing.

Most new migrants in the past five years, particularly those from the eight east European countries which joined the EU in 2004, are not eligible for social housing unless they have been resident in the UK and in work for at least 12 months. Any application they make must meet the same criteria of need as UK-born applicants.

According to the latest figures for 170,263 lettings in the social housing sector in 2006-07 in England, where the nationality of the named tenant was collected, less than 5% went to foreign nationals and less than 1% went to new migrants from eastern Europe.

The picture is confirmed by the results of a poll of 66 housing managers across Britain, of whom 74% said they believed that migrants had “not very much” or “no” impact on increased demand for housing in the social rented sector, while 66% said they had increased pressure on private rented accommodation.


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