Opinion: We need a more compassionate approach to social housing

PUBLISHED: 08:30 25 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:12 27 January 2020

Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green & Bow, is worried about vulnerable people being made homeless.

Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green & Bow, is worried about vulnerable people being made homeless.


Social housing is the bedrock of many successful communities, in Tower Hamlets and in many other places around the UK. It provides safe, stable, affordable homes for those who need support.

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However, this has been undermined by the 2010-15 Conservative government's decision to change the law around succession rights from parents to children in social housing.

The Localism Act 2011 ended the right for those other than spouses or civil partners to succeed secure tenancies agreed after 2012. It also passed decision-making to local authorities, without clear central guidance, meaning that many more bereaved children have been faced with eviction on the death of their parent.

We know that Local Authorities prioritise those in need on the housing waiting list, but this needs to be balanced with the needs of vulnerable people in homes, who are at risk of being made homeless. The minister made clear that local authorities have the discretion to treat people compassionately and refrain from forcing them out of their homes. There needs to be much more compassion in the way people in this situation are treated.

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