Coffee House

There’s no right to live in Chelsea

20 August 2012

Your local council owns prime real estate and could sell it to build new social houses. Housing Minister Grant Shapps says the appeal of this idea promoted by Policy Exchange is ‘obvious’. With a potential pot of £5.5bn to build up to 170,000 affordable homes, what’s not to like? Plenty, apparently: Labour MP Karen Buck warned of a risk to communities, and the importance of mixing groups within our population. Lord Prescott called the idea ‘gerrymandering’.

The empty slogans come from both sides. When someone says ‘nobody has a right to live in’ Chelsea they ought to remember that some people do have a right to live there, and that they pay for that right. This is a significant debate clouded by the use of language like ‘cleansing’ which is most harmful to the credibility of people using the word.

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Anyone who has ever looked for property in London has found the location of council housing in prime areas of London staggering. Millions of working taxpayers couldn’t afford to privately rent the sort of council housing locations that some Londoners enjoy. It’s not about jealousy: it’s a problem of scarce resources. Too many opponents to Policy Exchange’s suggestion live in a state of economic denial in which you have the cake and eat it in SW1.

The most bizarre objection to selling overpriced land is that it will result in segregated communities. London is already segregated, in fact every part of the country knows what the economic segregation of the housing market is like. Look in an estate agent’s window That segregation is the symptom of a need for greater levels of employment, economic growth, and prosperity. There are certain parts of London where you can only live if you’re at one end of the spectrum or the other. The squeezed middle in this debate are the middle classes, and yet that’s a segregation which many on the left seem ambivalent about.

Those who condemn the idea as ‘cleansing’ inner cities of council accommodation celebrate the notion that some council tenants live in the smartest areas of London, as if it’s somehow more democratic to have a housing lottery which can drop a tiny few in Kensington, rather than an affordable solution for all. Nobody sensible wants ghettos, and we all understand that the architecture and design of housing are important factors in how the inhabitants feel and act, but the need to find efficient, cheap solutions to the affordable housing crisis shouldn’t be met with slurs from the opponents.

Wouldn’t it be great if we focused not on how many council tenants should live in central London, but on how to house all the people who need to be housed? People who worry about segregation should be worrying about the cost of living. The notion of ‘segregated’ and ‘mixed’ communities is unhelpful. After all, if you want to run the housing market as an exercise in social engineering, why stop with council tenants? Why not start worrying about how many disabled people live in a particular area, or establishing a quota system for ethnic minorities? The desire to intervene on allegedly ‘principled’ grounds to the detriment of the housing system is what’s at stake here, and it’s the right sort of battleground for the next election.

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Show comments
  • LondonTiger

    Where is the council of Chelsea going to build more social housing then? They can’t sell their Chelsea property and build in Harrow – that would just pass on funding to Harrow. So there is interest at play here to keep their CHelsea property.

  • anyfool

    You say,The notion of ‘segregated’ and ‘mixed’ communities is unhelpful,
    We are already segregated, very few people mix with other races we do, as the saying, birds of a feather flock together because that is nature , there are a few interlocking places where black and white mix but very few where Asian Muslim’s and white mix, other Asians and most whites get along fine but still there is no real integration, the reason for that is despite what Multi mixers say we don’t really want to.

  • Ali Buchan

    It’s sad that, in a debate that has nothing to with race and country of origin, those issues appear so frequently in readers’ comments.

    • Coffeehousewall

      It is a debate that has everything to do with country of origin. Why do you think it is not? 7 million recent immigrants and their children are the cause of the housing shortage, increased housing prices and the increasing costs of housing benefit.

      British population growth, excluding immigrants, is low. You don’t have a housing crisis if the population is stable.

      • SimonToo

        It has nothing to do with country of origin because the actual proposal is that high value properties should be sold only when they become vacant.

      • dalai guevara

        May I remind you of all the ‘immigrants’ who have come here and taken tenancy/ bought ramshackle UK property to refurbish it?

        Can you believe that there are still clusters of homes in Britain with single glazing and coal fires whilst Norwegians/ Danes et al in a similar climate have only been allowing triple-glazing in residential properties for years?

        The UK has come a long way since the implementation of Whitehall policy to artificially increase the value of property and then borrow against it – that was our only ‘real’ income for half a generation.

        The poilcy of last resort – keeping house prices up – largely depended and continues to depend on ‘immigrants’ investing in UK property, best seen in Chelsea which would otherwise be just another Scunthorpe.

        You cannot have it both ways? You cannot have it one way but not the other.

        • rosie

          Norwegians number some 4-5million and the Danes 5 million. That is why they have a much higher standard of living. If they continue down our road of mass importation of large families they will eventually have a lower standard of living too. But it will take them some time to catch up with our 70 millions and rising. The Norwegians have hung on to their fish too.

          • dalai guevara

            Ok Rosie, Germany – triple glazing is the only option when upgrading domestic timber fenestration. Little fish to keep them all going…

            • rosie

              Germany, like Japan (which has fish 3 times a day), manages to maintain its efficiency, discipline, and high standards, despite a large population. Something to do with the German character, I should say; and with Japan’s monocultural, family-based, even more disciplined social order (as well as their healthy junk-free diet). Both nations suffered traumatic defeat and destruction in the war which have impelled them thus far to avoid lapsing into decadence and irresponsibility.
              However, Enoch used to say: “Does every generation have to learn again the lesson that there are more important things than that the trains should run on time?”
              Let us wait a little longer before judging whether he was right on this, as well as so much else.

              • dalai guevara

                I wish you had elaborated on how you justify targetting low-income immigrants whilst negating all those wealth-creating immigrants which continue to keep our property market afloat.

                Wishful thinking, perhaps…

        • rosie

          I agree with you about the nation having “invested” too much in inflated property – another thing which doesn’t happen on the continent, but has happened in Japan where there is never enough spacious accommodation – because of the very large population.

          • dalai guevara

            Ever heard of the Candy Bros? Who are their main clientele? Right, immigrants. What would they sell, if there was only a ‘local’ British market? Correct again, Jack sh_t!

            • rosie

              And don’t forget the employers who drive down wages and conditions by importing cheap labour and then get the taxpayer to top them up.

              • Daniel Maris

                ..and get the taxpayer to provide housing for the underpaid underclass…

      • dalai guevara

        May I remind you of all the ‘immigrants’ who have come here and taken tenancy/ bought ramshackle UK property to refurbish it?

        Can you believe that there are still clusters of homes in Britain with single glazing and coal fires whilst Norwegians/ Danes et al in a similar climate have only been allowing triple-glazing in residential properties for years?

        The UK has come a long way since the implementation of Whitehall policy to artificially increase the value of property and then borrow against it – that was our only ‘real’ income for half a generation.

        The poilcy of last resort – keeping house prices up – largely depended and continues to depend on ‘immigrants’ investing in UK property, best seen in Chelsea which would otherwise be just another Scunthorpe.

        You cannot have it both ways? You cannot have it one way but not the other.

  • Alexsandr

    we could chuck those with large incomes living in socoal housing out so those in need can have those houses.

    • Daniel Maris

      And who are the people determined to be most in need? Not working British citizens but outsiders without work – and more often than should be the case – no intention of ever doing any work.

  • Newham Sue

    Leaving aside the issue of people currently living in social housing in the forementioned areas who DO have long-standing roots in those communities (people whose kids are studying at schools there, pay their council taxes there, possibly work for local businesses, whose friends and relatives are part of a long-standing community); what about key workers whose shifts mean they need to live near their places of work? All areas of London, rich or poor, need cleaners, dustmen, nurses, teachers,handymen and carers. Not everyone can afford a car and doesn’t it make sense to have mixed communities.

    Most of the postings here concern alleged corruption in the delivery of council housing. The flip side of this is that while people who have no need are receiving housing, there are plenty who aren’t. Surely rather than creating ghettos for the less well-off in London and booting the poor (hard-working, tax-paying, community-supporting, in many cases) out of the better areas of London and away from their support networks, we’re be better off improving our assessment systems.

    • Susie Plummer

      I agree we need to improve assessment systems, and that there are a lot of problems related to that (although perhaps not quite as many as publications like the Daily Mail would like to think!).

      But while I agree it would be nice in theory to have every community completely mixed, it’s never going to happen. People who have money will buy nicer houses. You can never stop them, and nor should you ever try. By having council housing in nicer areas, it forces people who are working and renting privately into poorer areas. This is turn increases the appeal of social housing, and therefore the demand, and therefore the burden on the taxpayer.

      It’s important to have enough social housing to help all those who need it, and the best way for councils to afford this is to sell the expensive housing. They can’t just give housing in all areas of the country, there isn’t the money there to do it. They’re not talking about kicking people out of homes anyway, they’re only going to sell them when people move on anyway. Pretty much everyone renting privately has to make compromises on their house, whether on location, size, etc, and social housing should be the same.

    • james102

      How long does it take to go from Aldgate East (Tower
      Hamlets) to, say Ladbroke Grove? An hour? Or from West Ham to South Kensington?

      • SimonToo

        In my case, it was five generations.

      • Newham Sue

        That’s great unless you do a job – usually poorly paid – that involves an early start, then you’re probably talking a lot longer on a nightbus and the risks of waiting for one at a deserted outer london stop.

    • Dan

      London is a small place these days, I would take a guess that most journeys into London from the suburbs would only take an hour by public transport, which is how mere mortals like me have to commute. Your comments miss the point here, this is about value for the taxpayer, why should someone live in a flat in Kensington, valued at £1m, when for that sort of money, 5-6 homes could easily be built? I would also hazard a guess that creating brand new housing, would be the complete opposite of creating ghetto’s (your phrase above), maybe you should check out some of the new developments to widen your view on this matter. The new Kidbrooke estate would be a good start for you, close to a train station, and a large nature park, within half an hour of central london.

  • Daniel Maris

    As a Barrister, Rupert Myers (he seems to have no other claim to fame) is no doubt used to defending the indefensible but on this occasion he has failed in that task most miserably.

    If you’ve ever been around Chelsea, you’ll know the place is full of wealthy tax-dodging semi-alcoholics who don’t put themselves out much, preferring to lounge about in the many pubs and bars. Their idea of work is checking their bank statement twice a day.

    Why they should have a right to live in Chelsea but poor cleaners, waiters, hairdressers, cooks, shop assistants, and minicab drivers who work in the area can’t, is not clear to me? Are they supposed to endure 4 hours of commuting a day? Are they supposed to start their journey into work in the middle of the night without kissing their kids goodbye in the morning? Rupert is either a bear of little brain or he’s thought about these matters and remains as cold eyed and unfeeling as an Arctic cod off Spitzbergen.

    As has already been pointed out the main reason for the housing crisis is mass immigration which is driving up the population to unsustainable levels. Anyone – like Rupert – who can talk about housing in this country without mentioning that once in an article is faking it.

    ONe way forward would be to say that all London social housing is preserved for people in work who are UK citizens. That woudl send the right message.

  • Common Sense ✟

    It’s not just that, council housing in these areas is clearly going to third world immigrants who jump the queue because they live on benefits and have lots of children we all pay for.
    Just visit yourself and see! The endless satellite dishes to receive foreign TV is a clear sign of this on any council estate be it Westminster , Kensington and Chelsea or Isling ton etc.

  • Utopia or Death

    I think every street should reflect the ethnic make-up of the country. It must be made law ASAP. Any white people/right wingers that don’t like it should be marginalised as much as possible in society, and made to look like the evil racists they are.

    • james102

      Just add it to the Equalities Act it seems consistent with
      equal outcomes and as rational as the rest of the act.

    • james102

      Just add it to the Equalities Act it seems consistent with
      equal outcomes and as rational as the rest of the act.

  • LordBlagger

    Wouldn’t it be great if we focused not on how many council tenants should live in central London, but on how to house all the people who need to be housed?


    Or how we don’t import migrants that need social housing and all the other costs. ie. Who on a net balance are damaging to the UK economy.

  • John_Page

    Obviously markets are immoral, so all accommodation should be allocated by council lotteries :)

  • Coffeehousewall

    h/t John Richardson…

    The following appeared in ‘The Daily tel.’ in the ‘comments’ section,
    after a report with the headline ‘No-one has the right to live in

    This post says so much.

    Among other things it demonstrates the dangerous treachery of the
    MSM. The reality below is right before our our eyes. I’ve experienced
    something similar working for Lei. City Council.

    All around the world is being destroyed by the mad b******s in charge and the papers are filled with lie after lie after lie……


    7 hours ago

    Isn it about time we started deporting a few of these abusers of our
    hospitality. As for any accusations forthcoming about similar ‘white
    trash’ behaviour , there should be equivalent penalities; but how many
    poor whites get the same sort of support and help as the immigrant

    ‘Live in a £1m mansion for £130 a week? Only if you throw in a new
    kitchen…’: Whistleblower exposes chancers and cheats who abuse social

    The family had just arrived in London from Somalia. It didn’t take
    long for them to decide they’d seen enough. They didn’t speak much
    English but they made it clear they weren’t happy with the bedrooms on
    the top floor – apparently they didn’t like the sloping eaves.

    Corrupt: The housing system is designed to help the destitute but is abused by chancers and cheats

    But the deal-breaker came with their next questions. First, they wanted
    to know if the property came with an automatic right-to-buy with a
    discount, which it didn’t.

    They are thinking of council-owned properties, but we are a housing
    association – a not-for-profit organisation that is funded by government
    grants, bank loans and rental income – so we hold on to our stock and
    simply let it out.

    I thought that question was a bit odd, considering the family
    supposedly didn’t have a penny to their name, which was why they were
    throwing themselves on the mercy of the good old British taxpayer. Where
    would they get the funds to buy a townhouse in central London?

    This ‘penniless’ family also wanted to know whether they got a
    residents’ parking space with the property. I had to tell them ‘No’ to
    that as well. They shrugged and spread their arms, as if to say: ‘How on
    earth do you expect us to live here? Why are you wasting our time
    dragging us here?’ And off they went.

    They could afford to be so sniffy because we have Choice-Based Letting
    (CBL). Once, there was pressure on applicants to accept properties when
    they came up or risk dropping back down the list. Now that’s gone, so
    they can just keep saying No till we deliver exactly what they want –
    they’re actually more demanding than tenants in the private sector.

    Our problem as a housing association is that we are subcontracted to
    local authorities and have no say over the lists of people for whom we
    have to find a house – we are simply given the list and if someone is on
    it, they have the right to take one of our properties (with their rent
    heavily subsidised by taxpayers).

    Even if it would be overwhelmingly obvious to a five-year-old that
    the applicants were chancers, we have to smile and say, ‘Yes, sir’ or
    ‘No, madam’. In fact, we can’t even describe them as ‘tenants’ any more –
    we’ve been told we must call them ‘customers’.

    Even if it’s obvious they’re chancers, we can’t say No

    he legal position is that local authorities have a statutory duty to
    house those in need and will determine whether they need emergency
    housing (such as immediate B&B accommodation) until a long-term
    property is found.

    That’s where I come in. I’ve been doing this sort of work for 15
    years and we see a massively disproportionate number of people arriving
    from overseas.

    The law was changed in 2000 to say that asylum seekers would not be
    eligible for social housing but it doesn’t seem to have hugely affected
    the types of people that we are seeing. I suppose that’s partly because
    once asylum is granted, they do become eligible – and those who go on to
    get British citizenship can invite members of their family to come over
    and join them.

    Overall, the system is a joke. It rewards those family members who have
    just stepped off a plane by giving them a wonderful property in a
    central location, while Britons who have been here for years or even
    generations have got no chance of getting to the top of the list.

    This is because British applicants tend to be already living with
    family – parents, etc – so technically qualify as being housed. Recent
    arrivals with kids in tow do not and are given priority. That said,
    single mothers as a group are hugely over-represented among social
    housing tenants; the perception of girls becoming pregnant to get a
    council flat isn’t completely without foundation.

    My particular bugbear, odd as it may sound, is satellite dishes.
    These pose a huge problem for us, especially with our Turkish
    ‘customers’ (for some reason a lot of the families we are asked to house
    are Turkish).

    The first thing they want to know – well, after the free parking and
    the right to buy, of course – is whether they are allowed to put a
    satellite dish the size of a small helipad on the front of the property.
    Some of them need to put up two dishes so they can guarantee getting
    all the channels they want.

    As a result, some of our properties end up looking like GCHQ. I’m
    told the problem is something to do with the signal for Turkish TV not
    being strong enough.

    We always say No. If they think we really mean it – because the house
    is a new-build or period property – they will turn the place down, no
    matter how nice it is.

    How are they paying for it? Tenants who are supposedly on the breadline often have luxury goods like plasma TVs

    Properties with open-plan kitchens can be a problem too, as Somalian or
    other Muslim ‘customers’ often don’t want a kitchen that opens straight
    on to a reception room, and these type of houses are always turned down.
    I was given the reason by one man: If he wanted to invite other men
    around to play cards or whatever, he didn’t want them to see his wife
    making food in the kitchen.

    I really have no idea how some of the people who come to us become
    eligible for such heavily subsidised properties, although I have my

    One of our ‘customers’ is a musician of west African descent who is
    doing really well and often appears on TV. Certainly, tributes on his
    website as well as comments from his agent are effusive about just how
    successful he is. Yet he and his family recently rang us to arrange some
    property viewings – they were on the council list and wanted rehousing
    in a more central location.

    He was very fussy: it had to be a period, character property and it had
    to be in London Underground’s Zone 1 – ie, central London.

    We showed him a beautiful, four-storey Georgian property in a central
    London square with a park in the middle. He seemed delighted, as well
    he should be – this is a house worth well over £1 million and a normal
    rental would be £1,000 a week. He’s getting it subsidised for £130 a

    My personal view is that this house should be sold and the money
    invested in new-builds – we could have a dozen flats for the same money,
    and so help lots of families, not just one.

    But no one else in the department seems to agree. I can’t understand it:
    surely we are supposed to provide a safety net for as many people as
    possible, not the keys to the palace for just one family?

    Anyway, this family didn’t seem to appreciate their good fortune. As
    soon as they moved in, they bombarded us with a litany of complaints.
    Nothing was ever right.

    For example, we had just installed a new fitted kitchen, leaving space
    for white goods – we don’t supply those, that’s down to the tenants.
    Sorry, customers!

    Anyway, this family had brought with them a ‘slim fit’ dishwasher.
    But the space we’d left was for a standard-sized unit. Believe it or
    not, they wanted us to come back, take the kitchen out and refit it with
    units that matched their dishwasher.

    In any case, I don’t know how that family qualified for social housing.
    If I were being charitable, I would guess that they had got on the list
    before they had a better income and managed to stay on it.

    They bombarded us with a litany of complaints

    The truth is that once you’re on the list, you seem to be there for
    life: the system isn’t continuously means-tested. What should happen is
    that tenants – customers – should be retested periodically to ensure
    that they still qualify for this enormous subsidy from the taxpayer. As I
    say, it should be a safety net, not a state-sponsored bonanza for a
    lucky few.

    It really rankles that someone who is clearly earning a lot more
    money than me gets to live in Millionaire’s Row at taxpayers’ expense,
    while the rest of us struggle to make ends meet. I commute into work
    from a small flat outside of London as I can’t afford to buy anything
    more central.

    A less charitable explanation for why this musician and his family
    got the star treatment (and one that a lot of my colleagues believe to
    be the case) is that there are cliques in local authority departments –
    be they West African, Indian, Pakistani, whatever – who ‘look after
    their own’.

    These cliques bump friends and relatives to the top of the list, even
    if they don’t fulfil any of the criteria for social housing. This is
    done either as a favour or in return for a backhander.

    I know it happens. One area I deal with is in South London. There is a
    large Portuguese community there and I would often get a call from one
    local lady, a Portuguese grandmother who seemed to act as an agent for
    new arrivals. She’d ring me regularly and say: ‘Chrees, you have nice
    flat? I have lovely family who just come from Portugal, need nice
    three-bed flat.’

    The first few times I’d say: ‘Luisa, you know I can’t do anything unless
    they’re on the list.’ She’d reply: ‘Don’t worry, Chrees, they will be
    on list tomorrow, please just show them some nice flats.’

    And sure enough, the family would be on the next version of the list we’d get.

    She clearly knew someone in the housing department who would put her
    families on the list in exchange for cash – which she could afford to
    pay as she was charging these families a lot of money in return for her
    securing a council flat for them. Of course, the family was happy to pay
    a big one-off fee because once they were in the system they were in for
    good, and they would get a centrally located flat for a peppercorn rent
    for life.

    I’m speaking out now because I find the whole system corrupt and unfair –
    and, above all, a monstrous waste of taxpayers’ money. Our houses often
    go to those who have been in the country for less than a month and have
    no intention of ever contributing anything to Britain through taxes.
    Meanwhile, those who have been here for years paying tax have got little
    or no chance of getting a flat.

    I went to see a woman recently in her lovely three-bed flat to
    arrange a follow-up visit. When I got my diary out, she said: ‘Can’t do
    July or August – I’m abroad twice this summer.’ Then she winked at me
    and said: ‘Not bad for someone on the social, eh, Chris?’ and laughed.
    But I don’t find it funny.

    Just a few decades ago, if you lived in social housing, people would
    come and look at your property, and the rules dictated that if you had
    possessions that were worth anything, the authorities would force you to
    sell them to contribute towards your rent.

    Of course, no one is saying we should return to such harsh attitudes,
    but the system does seem to have swung far too far the other way.

    My colleagues and I go on field visits to see families who are
    supposedly on the breadline and cannot subsist except by the largesse of
    the British taxpayer. Yet they have nice cars, top-end plasma TV
    screens, the latest games consoles for the kids, Sky TV and all the rest
    of it. How on earth are they paying for it?

    I’d love all those luxuries, but I can’t afford them – because I work for a living.

    (Edited by author 6 hours ago)

    Recommended by 132 people

    • james102

      Those whom the gods…

    • Daniel Maris

      Enough to make you weep…

      In terms of how things are paid for, the cars come from disability claims. A big TV is not that expensive – maybe £700 – and of course most of these families don’t have big outgoings related to things like pubs, clubs, sports interests. The women and children are supposed to be at home. The food bill can be pretty low, with a lot based around v. cheap ingredients. Throw in some charity help and other disability claims (wouldn’t be surprised if you can get a TV from a deaf charity) and the amount of disposable income increases quite substantially.

  • james102

    Our political class does not believe in the concept of
    nationality so yes anyone who manages to get to Britain has, in reality, the
    same rights as everyone else. That is why our courts find ways of not deporting
    foreign criminals, if we start deporting them it suggests they have less rights
    to live here than the British prisoners sharing the cell.

    • Andy

      When I lived in Maida Vale all the older blocks and houses were owned by the Church Commissioners. They sold most of it off. Local Authority housing was at the top end.

      • james102

        Yes but now housing associations have a lot of the

      • james102

        Yes but now housing associations have a lot of the

  • Irascible Old Git

    If the children born to social-housing residents in London SW6 have no right to remain living within the Royal Borough, then the offspring of a certain family who dwell, amongst other places, in a Georgian pile down the Road should forfeit claim to their over-valued property, too.

    • Coffeehousewall

      A stupid comment that manifests a great ignorance of our history, culture and traditions.

      • Irascible Old Git

        ‘I look down on him, because he is a social parasite.’
        ‘I look up to her, because she is a rich social parasite.’
        ‘I know my place.’

        (with apologies to TWTWTS)

        • Coffeehousewall

          Cobblers. I respect the monarchy because I know what it stands for. I honour the Queen because she has given a life of sacrifice and service to the nation. That you think that everyone who demands a house should be given one, at whatever cost and in whatever location, and you denigrate the Queen, shows that you are no more than a left-wing troll.

          • Irascible Old Git

            Who was it that said satire is dead?

    • Archimedes

      No…not exactly…you see one of those can afford to live there, and the other cannot: I’ll leave it to you to do the guessing – it will be a proper tongue-sticking-out-the-mouth job for you…

      • Andy

        Actually one of them owns the property. And as a point of fact if you are talking about Kensington Palace it isn’t ‘Georgian’. It’s earlier.

    • SimonToo

      Since when was Fulham a Royal Borough?

    • rosie

      The certain family have given over the rents from their estates to the Treasury. These run into billions. In return they get the civil list – a right royal ripoff – and they have to renegotiate it all the time. What they should be renegotiating is the original deal – and take back the crown lands so they can live off the rents as they always used to.

  • Coffeehousewall

    Who are all the people who should be housed? Do they include the 7 million recent immigrants and their children, or only British citizens of some long standing?

    The problem with your view is that it seems to say that if you can manage to get to Britain then you should be housed. We haven’t been asked, those of us whose nation it is, that we want to go along with this social vision. I’d guess most British people do not believe that everyone who needs a house should get one, since a very large number of those people are not British, have not paid tax, and are recent immigrants.

    • james102

      Our political class does not believe in the concept of
      nationality so yes anyone who manages to get to Britain has, in reality, the
      same rights as everyone else. That is why our courts find ways of not deporting
      foreign criminals, if we start deporting them it suggests they have less rights
      to live here than the British prisoners sharing the cell.

    • Susie Plummer

      Nationally in 2010-11, 8.6% of new council house tenants were foreign, and in 2009 only 2% had arrived in Britain within the last 5 years. Given that, I don’t think we can blame them for all the housing problems. Like it or not, Britain is a country of immigrants. People constantly blaming them for all our social ills is neither fair nor helpful. Yes, there are immigrants who play the system, but there are also an awful lot of Brits who do the same.

      Just being a “British citizen of some long standing” does not automatically make you worthy of help. There are plenty who have never done anything to earn it. Conversely, there are plenty of immigrants (recent or not) who have done everything right, and will try their best to give as much as they can back to society.

      I’m proud to come from a country that helps everyone, immigrant or not. I agree rules should be stricter, to make work always pay and to prevent anyone spending their whole lives on benefits. But that’s not an immigration issue, and nor is council housing.

      • Daniel Maris

        I am sorry, but that’s not good enough. Firstly, the birth rate of the recent immigrants is much higher than average, so past immigration is responsible for housing pressure as well as current. Furthermore, council housing is NOT the whole of social housing. There are numerous housing associations catering specifically for immigrants.

        This secret official embassy cable on Muslim demographics in the UK
        (reported verbatim in the Telegraph)

        gives some interesting insights. Here’s a selection:

        “Muslims between the ages of 16 and 24 had the highest unemployment rates at
        28%; 11% of Muslims over the age of 25 were unemployed.”

        Despite having “the youngest
        age profile of all the religious groups in Great Britain”, the cable says: “Muslims, both male and female, had the highest rates of reported ill health
        in 2000. Muslims had the highest rates of disability, with 24% of females and 21% of
        males claiming a disability.”

        Muslims “are the most likely among all religious groups to be living in accommodation
        rented from the council or housing association (28%)”

        A report is quoted as follows: “arranged marriages in the Muslim community are creating unusually large
        population growth in areas where Muslims predominate, since first-generation
        families tend to have larger numbers of children (based on published research
        and a comparison of the 1991 and 2001 census). For example, in the eighties the
        Bradford (city) Council estimated that the Muslim population would reach 130,000
        by 2030 and then level off. Now the projection is for 130,000 by 2020 and

        You can see from all that that it is wrong to assume immigration is not having a disproportionate effect on housing availability.

        I think we are entitled to ask what is the purpose of mass immigration if it results in such a social burden.

        • rosie

          Quite so. Furthermore it is not the fault of the immigrants that we are ruled by corrupt and unpatriotic people. The complaint is quite clearly against the authorities, not the immigrants and thier many relations who take advantage of their maladministration.

          • Daniel Maris

            There is nothing wrong with what you might call “intelligent immigration” and I hasten to add as someone who lives in London, I enjoy contact with people from all around the world. There is however everything wrong with the sort of mass immigration that we are experiencing.

            We should ensure that migrants to this country:

            (a) obtain no automatic right to naturalisation;
            (b) come initially on guest worker permits for a limited period;
            (c) sign good behaviour contracts that result in deportation in the event of involvement in crime or political activity inimical to our interests;
            (c) match emigrants from the UK on a one to one basis (through a system of annual quotas);
            (d) cover their infrastructure costs;
            (e) have good command of the English language; and
            (f) approve of and support our democratic values.

            • rosie

              Agreed. But all this has to be carried out by the authorities, not the immigrants.
              I would add a particular rider under f) – that corruption took a long time to eradicate here and in the empire. We should not turn a blind eye to it now it has come back into the country from abroad. not just electoral corruption but corruption within the civil service itself.

              • Daniel Maris

                Sadly a fresh injection of corruption – nepotism and simony – is coming our way. Many immigrant communities are only just now getting to the position where members of their communities are taking up important jobs in public administration as judges, CPS managers,health managers, senior police officers, councillors and managers in every field.

                It would be nice to think they are incorruptible but we have already seen very serious corruption occurring in elections (centred on postal voting). There are clan systems, bonds of obligations that we, in the wider community, barely understand. It would be naive in the extreme to think that corruption (bad enough as it is now) isn’t going to spread.

                • rosie

                  I quite agree. For many people across the world, looking after one’s own at public expense is just good manners. Very hard to explain to newcomers that we frown on that here. And the corruption is already up and running – in the allocation of housing for instance, and in preferment for jobs, e.g. in the NHS, but in other areas too. Possibly in immigration cases, though that is harder to hear about because of the small number of immigration “judges”..
                  When Lord Denning warned of this years ago, in relation to the law, he was hounded and discredited. Matthew Parris was piously berating his memory only recently in this respect, on Great Lives. “Disgraceful” was the word he used. But Denning was only being clear-sighted and clear-spoken – as ever.

        • SusiePlummer

          Issues with disability and unemployment are not unique to the Muslim or immigrant population. I can’t find statistics on it, but considering the fact that an above average % of immigrants live, and grew up, in poverty, I would guess that if you compared immigrants to non immigrants of a similar economic background, those statistics wouldn’t look that bad. A high % of Muslims live in poorer areas, and their unemployment and social housing statistics are similar to others in the same economic situation. For example, in a borough like Tower Hamlets, the overall unemployment rate is 13%, the same as it is for Muslims.

          I never said that immigration didn’t have its problems. There are issues with immigration (of all nationalities and religions), and Britain doesn’t always deal with it in the best way. There needs to be a lot more integration and British law should always come first. Similarly, benefits (of all kinds) need to be sorted out for everyone. Nobody, British nationals or immigrants, should be able to live their whole lives not giving back to the country somehow. Whilst immigration does compound the problem, it’s not correct to say that mass immigration is the sole cause of these problems. There are plenty of mainly white areas where everyone lives in social housing on the dole too.

          • Daniel Maris

            Wow, you are bending of backwards to avoid the truth aren’t you?

            If you knew anything about immigration you would know (as that reference shows) that the community in question has a much younger population than the rest of the country. It should therefore be much healthier even allowing for the effects of poverty. As for the the effects of poverty, you will find that employment pattern repeated in relative terms across the country whatever the socio-economic background so quoting 13% in Tower Hamlets is irrelevant. There could be all sorts of reasons for it, but one thing is sure – it imposes a massive economic burden on the country whereas we are always being told by the elite that immigration is good for the economy.

            We’re not really talking about the social issues here, but your desire for “integration” is futile. You won’t get any more integration that the community in question will allow. It’s close to zero now what with separate home languages, separate charities and social institutions, marriage to partners from abroad, separate schools (both formal and informal) and separate TV, radio and newspapers.

  • In2minds

    There’s no ‘right’ to live in the UK either, so social housing, immigration and so on, let the debate begin?

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