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11 April 2014
Campaign launched to fight proposals in draft Housing Bill

Campaign launched to fight proposals in draft Housing Bill

A campaign has been launched to urge the Scottish Government to axe a new proposal which would allow social landlords to discriminate on the grounds of age when allocating social homes.

Shelter Scotland’s Age Factor Campaign will fight against the proposal in the draft Housing (Scotland) Bill, as the charity fears it could lead to discrimination against young and vulnerable people.

Last month a group of charities, including Shelter, Barnardo’s Scotland, Children 1st and Who Cares? Scotland wrote to housing minister Margaret Burgess, asking her to remove a measure in the Bill that lifts a bar on considering the age of an applicant when allocating social housing.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “Coming on the back of threats from the UK Government to remove housing benefit entitlement from under 25 year olds and high youth unemployment, this move would be a further attack on the aspirations of a younger generation already facing major challenges finding work and a home of their own.

“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.”

The housing charity says the move is “wholly unnecessary” and points out that the allocation of social housing under current law must be determined by the needs and circumstances of the household not the age of the applicant, and that a strong national framework already exists that defines priority groups and permitted practices – age is not one of them. Shelter also points out that social landlords already have powers to make best use of lets via local lettings initiatives.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Housing Minister is carefully considering comments on the Bill from a range of stakeholders, including Shelter. She will set out the Government’s position in light of these comments when she responds to the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee’s stage one report on the Bill .”

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