Yet the Equality Bill, recently introduced before Parliament by Harriet Harman, will impose a duty on all public sector bodies to reduce socio-economic disadvantage when making ‘strategic decisions’. Giving housing priority to someone who is local above someone who is socially or economically disadvantaged will potentially breach the new duty.
Councils will also still have a duty under existing legislation to give ‘reasonable preference’ to the homeless, those in overcrowded or unsatisfactory housing, and those with medical or welfare problems.
Grant Shapps, the Conservative Shadow Housing Minister, said, “Gordon Brown’s spin, pitched at Labour’s disillusioned core vote, has been exposed to be a sham. Under existing legislation and Harman’s new equality law, local people will not have priority for local homes.”
Shapps stressed, “Housing waiting list policies need reform and we need more affordable homes. But Labour are unable to deliver the change we need.”
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