Social Rented Housing: Armed Forces

Communities and Local Government written question – answered at on 30 November 2011.

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Photo of David Hamilton David Hamilton Opposition Assistant Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

(1) how many members of the armed forces were on social housing waiting lists in (a) England, (b) Wales and (c) Scotland in each of the last five years;

(2) what discussions he has had with Ministers in the Scottish Government on the Government's plans for additional preference in the allocation of social housing to members of the armed forces;

(3) which local authorities in (a) England, (b) Wales and (c) Scotland give additional preference to (i) members of the armed forces and (ii) veterans when allocating social housing.

Photo of Grant Shapps Grant Shapps The Minister for Housing

We do not hold information centrally on the number of armed forces personnel on social housing waiting lists in England, Wales or Scotland.

Currently, the legislation allows, but does not require, local housing authorities in England and Wales to frame their allocation scheme to give additional preference to applicants, including current and former members of the armed forces, who are in urgent housing need. There is no similar requirement in Scottish legislation. We do not collect information centrally on the number or identity of local housing authorities which take advantage of this flexibility.

The Housing Strategy published on 21 November included a commitment to consult on a change to the law which would require local housing authorities in England to provide for former service personnel with urgent housing needs to receive additional preference in their allocation scheme, so that they should always be at or near the top of waiting lists. Officials in my Department have discussed our proposals with their counterparts in the Welsh and Scottish Governments.

I have recently written to all hon. and right hon. Members to inform them of the actions that the Government are taking to ensure that current and ex-service personnel have the housing support they need and am placing a copy of this letter in the Library of the House.

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