MP wants locals to get priority housing
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.