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Action taken to improve council house allocations

Draft guidance makes clear the first priority for housing must be given to those in greatest housing need. But it also strengthens the freedoms councils have to prioritise needs specific to their local area.

This could include:
* Attracting people with particular skills into an area;
* Giving priority to those who have been on housing waiting lists for a long time; or
* Supporting people in work – particularly those on low incomes.

The draft also makes clear the need for councils to tackle the myths and misunderstandings surrounding allocations, by doing more to inform their communities about who is getting housing, and to consult tenants and residents when setting their local priorities, so that allocations policies are better understood and have greater legitimacy among local people.

Housing Minister John Healey also launched plans for a coordinated crackdown this autumn on people who cheat the housing system and profit from subletting their council house or housing association home.

Healey said: "People must have more confidence that decisions about who gets housing are taken fairly. This means better information for residents, so that local authorities’ allocation policies are clear, well understood and meet the needs of the whole community. It also means councils making the most of the greater leeway I’m giving them in the new guidance to allocate homes according to local needs.

"But this is only one side of the equation. Anyone getting council or housing association homes should stick to the same rules as everyone else. So today, I am also announcing a coordinated crackdown on the tenancy cheats who profit from unlawfully sub-letting their home. This could free up thousands of properties for people who really need them."

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