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2 Apr 2013

Hammersmith gets local connection rule

London local authority restricts social housing.

Yet another London borough authority has moved to stem the flow of people applying for social housing, with only those with a five-year connection to the local area permitted access to subsidised homes.
According to Hammersmith and Fulham council, new sanctions will be put into place in order to prioritise "local homes for local people", with a residency test being introduced as part of the application process.
The district follows an example set by Kensington and Chelsea, which last month stated that only vulnerable parties from local areas will be offered social tenancies and terminated lifetime contracts.
Prime minister David Cameron last week advocated the changes and told local authorities all over the country that they should be implementing the same measures in an attempt to control social housing waiting lists, which have been spinning out of control.
Councillor Andrew Johnson, the council's cabinet member for housing, said: “It cannot be fair for decent, honest people to sit on a council housing register for years and years and then see their housing dreams turn to dust when a new migrant, or someone from elsewhere in the country overtakes them in the queue."
The council stated that one person had been on the list for social housing for 36 years, while last year just 470 new lettings were made. It is hoped that adjustments to housing policy will avoid situations like these.
"Hammersmith and Fulham Council is … changing the rules so that local people with a five year connection to the borough come first," Mr Johnson concluded.
The local authority is currently constructing homes to add to its extensive portfolio of social housing, having started up its own company last year to deal with an influx of applications for affordable housing.
It hopes to have completed 500 low-cost units within the next ten years.

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