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Social Housing

Volume 526: debated on Monday 4 April 2011

9. What assessment he has made of the potential effect on levels of homelessness of the proposed changes to rules on the changes in the treatment of tenancies in under-occupied social housing. (50348)

The security and rights of existing social tenants, including those who are under-occupying, will be protected in the reform of social housing. I have announced a £13 million scheme to help local authorities to offer tenants greater flexibility in their choices.

I thank the Minister for his reply, but does he accept that the allocations policies of some local authorities, including Manchester, result in larger, hard-to-let properties being under-occupied through no fault of the new tenants? Given the one reasonable offer rule, surely some existing tenants will no longer be able to afford to stay in their property, and some potential tenants will not be able to afford to take the one reasonable offer.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to say that there are problems with the allocation policy at the moment. One thing that we plan to do through the Localism Bill is to provide much greater flexibility to allocations. For example, if somebody is seeking to move home within the sector, they should not have to join the back of the regular queue. In addition, by the end of this year we will have set up a mobility scheme, which will cover 90% of homes in this country.

David Morris is not here. The grouping therefore falls and Mr Ruffley’s question will follow later.