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Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Locals only housing

There are calls once more for the Assembly to promote the building of locals-only housing in rural areas. I am not adverse to this idea though there are associated problems with it. There are always dangers in interfering in the housing market particularly in the way that it can limit the free flow of labour and it can actually affect the ability of local people to sell their houses. I know that in the field of social housing to rent people have advocated giving priority to locals and in fact one Welsh Housing Association operates such a policy to my knowledge. Again, it is what is suitable and acceptable to the local area. However, I would pose one question to those who advocate such a policy. If a Housing Association has a locals-first policy and has two applicants for a property, both equal in every other way, one is local the other is from an ethnic minority, who gets the house and why? It is a difficult conundrum and one reason why people sometimes shy away from these policies.

Interesting post, but I don't quite understand the point about the local person vs. the ethnic minority person. What relevance is the ethnic background of someone looking for a house? If they're local, they get priority (that's what a locals-first policy means, surely, so from the outset they can't be considered "equal" applicants). And there's nothing to say someone from an ethnic background can't also be local.
The point is that by discriminating in this way you are leaving yourself open to allegations of doing so in a racist manner. The policy itself is unsafe for that reason.
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