MP wants lo­cals to get pri­or­ity hous­ing

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Uk & world Update - By MATTHEW REVILLE matthew.reville@pe­ter­bor­oughto­ @ET_REVILLE

HARD-WORK­ING lo­cal res­i­dents should be given pri­or­ity hous­ing in Peter­bor­ough, the city’s MP has sug­gested in a let­ter to the coun­cil.

MP Ste­wart Jack­son wants Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil to fol­low the lead of other au­thor­i­ties who have vowed to put lo­cal res­i­dents ahead of peo­ple mov­ing into the city on their hous­ing pri­or­ity lists.

Since April, coun­cils have been given greater au­ton­omy to de­cide how so­cial hous­ing is al­lo­cated be­cause of the in­tro­duc­tion of the Gov­ern­ment’s Lo­cal­ism Act.

On Mon­day, Ham­mer­smith and Ful­ham Coun­cil in London un­veiled a new al­lo­ca­tion scheme that pri­ori­tises lo­cal, work­ing res­i­dents and fixed-term te­nan­cies for new so­cial hous­ing let­tings.

The coun­cil be­lieves the cur­rent hous­ing scheme is flawed be­cause any­one can ap­ply to go onto their hous­ing reg­is­ter, mak­ing it more dif­fi­cult for lo­cals to get a house.

Mr Jack­son said: “Our Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil should be do­ing the same thing that Ham­mer­smith and Ful­ham Coun­cil are do­ing, and that is help­ing our res­i­dents.

“It’s dis­ap­point­ing that the city coun­cil seem to be drag­ging their feet. The Lo­cal­ism Act gives au­thor­i­ties more lee­way to help peo­ple ac­tive in their com­mu­nity.

“We should be do­ing what we can to help peo­ple who help the com­mu­nity, be it foster par­ents or for­mer ser­vice­men.

“It’s a good chance to re­as­sure peo­ple to play by the rules and help their com­mu­nity.

“Pe­ri­od­i­cally I get let­ters from peo­ple say­ing my daugh­ter works and pays her taxes but be­cause she doesn’t have chil­dren, or any of the other things to en­ti­tle you to ben­e­fits, she doesn’t get con­sid­ered for the hous­ing al­lo­ca­tions.

“That makes peo­ple cross. We should try to keep peo­ple in Peter­bor­ough who can’t af­ford hous­ing yet - they should be given some ku­dos and pri­or­ity.”

Adrian Chap­man,the coun­cil’s head of neigh­bour­hood ser­vices, has said its pol­icy is cur­rently be­ing re-drafted and will soon be put out to public con­sul­ta­tion.

He said: “Since the Lo­cal­ism Act, the coun­cil can de­velop so­cial hous­ing al­lo­ca­tions poli­cies to take into ac­count peo­ple who have lo­cal con­nec­tions or who have ben­e­fited their com­mu­ni­ties.

“Con­se­quently, we are cur­rently re-draft­ing our so­cial hous­ing al­lo­ca­tions pol­icy. It is ex­pected the pol­icy will be avail­able by early sum­mer for public con­sul­ta­tion.”

Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil leader Cllr Marco Cer­este added: “We will con­tinue to build so­cial hous­ing, but I need more time to read about the other coun­cil’s pol­icy to see what it is all about.

“But I gen­uinely be­lieve in help­ing ev­ery­body that needs help in our city. We have al­ready agreed hous­ing should be pri­ori­tised for ex-ser­vice­men.

“If peo­ple have gone out and fought for the coun­try they should get all the help they can get. It’s the right thing to do.”

Call: Ste­wart Jack­son MP.

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