Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Betts says lettings policy implementation is unfair to those who wait

Clive Betts MP [Sheffield South East] has challenged Sheffield City Council on its lettings policies which discriminate against people who have been on the waiting-list a long time.

He has written today to the SCC Chief Executive asking him to urgently review what is actually happening to re-housing in various parts of the city and to ensure that the spirit of SCC’s own re-housing policies are implemented.

Clive Betts used the example of David Pemberton and his partner Helen Barnsley, who have been on the waiting-list for re-housing for twenty years, but are prevented from securing a home in Hackenthorpe.

Clive Betts said:
“I have always supported a lettings’ policy which gives a fair deal to people who have spent a long time on the waiting list, either to be offered their first home or for a transfer.

I opposed changes to the lettings policy which gave less weight to the length of time people had been waiting. But, it is clear to me that, in practice, in certain parts of the city, those on the waiting-list are being given absolutely no opportunity at all to be re-housed.”

In Hackethorpe, priority for re-housing is being given to households whose homes are being demolished. But, if a home in the area is not wanted by those households, it is being offered to those with other forms of priority.

Effectively, this means that those with waiting-time only will not be allowed to bid for a home.”

Clive Betts said:
“The way in which the re-housing policy is being implemented runs contrary to the actual policy which states that ‘one in four properties can be offered to people with waiting-time only’.

But, in areas like Hackenthorpe, good people like David Pemberton and Helen Barnsley, who have been waiting years for a home, are effectively being denied from ever being re-housed.

It is absolutely right that people who have to be re-housed because of demolition. It is absolutely wrong that homes which are not required for that purpose will never be offered to people who have waiting-time only. This is completely contrary to the guiding principles and spirit of the letting policies.”

Clive Betts continued:
“It is now more than 12 months since I pressed this issue with the relevant council officers.

Now, after months of waiting – and despite repeated requests for a proper response to the issues I’d been raising - I’ve received a reply simply saying that the policy is being implemented correctly.

If the policy is being implemented correctly, something is going badly wrong.

I have today written to the Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council asking for an urgent review of the situation.”