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Welfare Reform on the Web (October 2011): Social housing - UK

100m gamble pays off as buyers home in on revamped 'no-go' estate

P. Walker

The Guardian, Sept. 26th 2011, p. 12-13

For many people in Sheffield over recent decades, Park Hill was the last place you would want to end up living as a social tenant. It thus sounds little short of a miracle that around 1,000 people have expressed an interest in buying a flat in the vast postwar housing estate, a fortnight before the homes even go on sale. It is, in fact, the first indication that a hugely ambitious 100m gamble on the rehabilitation of that most disparaged of architectural styles, postwar brutalism, might pay off.

Council tenants 'cost taxpayer 2bn a year' by illegally subletting homes

T. Whitehead

Daily Telegraph, Sept. 12th 2011, p. 2

Research by Experian suggested that in 2011 almost 160,000 council homes were being illegally sublet by tenants, costing the taxpayer more than 2bn a year. The study examined 125,000 properties run by 10 local councils and housing associations to detect potential fraud. Researchers looked at the number of social housing tenants not occupying their tenancy address and found living at another property. They also explored credit activity by other adults using the council or housing association property as their address. The study concluded that at least 3% of Britain's five million social housing properties were being illegally sublet.

Squatters can be good for us all, says judge in empty homes ruling

Anon.

Daily Telegraph, Sept. 6th 2011, p. 11

A tribunal ruling by Judge Fiona Henderson means that Camden Council must comply with a freedom of information request by the Advisory Service for Squatters and supply a list of empty council and private homes in the borough. The judge commented that squatters were not criminals and in fact performed a public service by bringing empty homes back into use.

Workshy go to back of council housing queue

A. Porter

Daily Telegraph, Sept. 29th 2011, p. 12

Housing minister Grant Shapps announced the introduction of a new allocation policy for social housing that would give local authorities more freedom to decide who they put at the front of the housing queue. Under the new policy, someone who has held down a job for two years would be given more points and rise up the housing queue. Those who were unemployed and showed little inclination to find work would drop down the queue.

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