Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Migrants getting preferential treatement for housing

By Nigel Morris, Home Affairs Correspondent Published: 02 November 2007

An urgent inquiry has been ordered into claims that immigrants are jumping ahead of white Britons on council house waiting lists. MPs have repeatedly warned that hostility to newcomers in some white working-class areas is fuelled by suspicions that newcomers get preferable treatment. The fears have been successfully exploited by the British National Party in east London, West Yorkshire and Lancashire. The inquiry was ordered by town hall chiefs and the new equality watchdog. Trevor Phillips, head of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, which has replaced the Commission for Racial Equality, acknowledged that some communities felt unfairly treated. He said people were realistic and accepted they had to share public services with new immigrants. But he added: "What, however, does drive tension and hostility is a widespread public perception that new migrants too often get unfair advantages to which they aren't entitled. "One area where this idea of unfairness is most frequently alleged is in housing allocation, specifically that white families are cheated out of their right to social housing by newly arrived migrants."