Government warned over age discrimination housing proposals
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Communities, Housing
Defend Council Housing rallies support ahead of Commons inquiry
The Scottish government has been warned to abandon plans to allow social landlords to discriminate against potential tenants because of their age.
Led by housing charity Shelter Scotland, the coalition of charities has written to Scotland’s Housing and Welfare Minister, Margaret Burgess MSP, to warn that removing the current ban on considering the age of an applicant when allocating social housing could lead to vulnerable and young people being discriminated against.
The charities are urging the government to remove the proposal from the draft Housing (Scotland) Bill currently making its way through parliament.
In the letter, the coalition claims the allocation of social housing must be determined by the needs and circumstances of the household, and that there is already a national framework which defines priority groups and permitted practices – and age is not one of them.
The proposal echoes plans by the UK government to ban housing benefit support for those aged under 25.
Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “The housing safety net exists to protect all who need it. By removing this important safeguard there is a very real danger that vulnerable groups and young people in particular will be unfairly penalised and will not be allocated the homes they desperately need and are entitled to.
“Allowing age to be taken into consideration when allocating social homes would be a big step backwards. We oppose this proposal and ask the Scottish Government to think again.
“Everyone needs a secure affordable home - whatever their age - and we will campaign vigorously to protect the rights and interests of all of Scotland’s 595,000 households living in social housing and the 155,100 on council waiting lists.”