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  1. #1
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    amazing UK

    No need to worry if you want to return to the UK after a few years in the sun, as far as accommodation goes anyway. My mate married an african illegal to help stopping her being deported some years ago. At the time she was working for a London council as a refegee officer and had a very nice flat near the Barbican, nothing seems to have improved since then. Of course if going back, or a local on the list for years you would get no help at all as this article explains, unless you were a foreigner straight off the plane who had never paid a penny in taxes.

    Extraordinary demands made by housing association tenants | Mail Online


    Recently the Mail published a devastating account by a whistleblower who revealed a culture of absenteeism, rampant inefficiency and 'unsackable' staff at the London council where he works as a senior planning officer.

    The article struck a chord with another official employed by a housing association in the capital. The system is designed to help the destitute, but he says it is abused by undeserving chancers and cheats.

    The Mail knows his identity, but to protect his job, 'Chris' tells his story to EUGENE COSTELLO...
    Not long ago, I had to do a field visit to one of our sites to show some properties to a family. The houses are new-builds in a really good, central location - I'd love to live in one myself. Three storeys, with three or four bedrooms, really nice - they were so new that the paint was still wet.

    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 theories.

    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 week.

    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.

    • Some names and details have been changed to protect the interviewee's identity.

  2. #2
    SiamLovinIt
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    Its stuff like this and the unccoutability that makes so many poor British folks happy retire to LOS,they may still be treated as 2nd class but at least can choose which foreigners they choose to subsidise.

    If you speak up about failed asylum seekers or Cheats smugglers forced marriages wicked imams cliterodectomies money lenders you are accused of racism.

    Most generous well meaning N European welfare states is paid for by mid income workers hi rollers have cayman accounnts Like Lord Ashcroft or get Income support like Chuck n Milly Windsor

    No one is ever fined held to account or sacked from the fiddling pms to the dole bludgers its much the same in Oz but Londons prime squares for fresh off the boat is one incentive to the Sangatte squatters,cream of Somalia and Nigeria and their touts.

    While brave young servivemen and women are dying with NATO in the stans the scum of these parts is raping their capital by stealth

    A 5 year national Service in Falklands National park might be a suitable arrival chill zone.The forces dont want bitter muslims who can hardly read English but perhaps the endless sheep and a nice big mutton cannery? The brides by post could card the wool?
    Last edited by SiamLovinIt; 06-07-2010 at 11:00 AM.

  3. #3
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    Simple really. Get rid of all the folks with foreign origins working for local authorities or those paid for by taxpayers' money. It's only the Northern Europeans with any kind of morals as is well known.

    It'll never happen. Thank fuck I'm never going back to live in that shithole.

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    This is not news to us English.
    We have been discriminated against in our own country for years.

  5. #5
    SiamLovinIt
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    While we all resent double pricing ,land rules etc at least these often disparaged Thais wont let white falangs abuse them like this.
    Thet do have course have others to help.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by the dogcatcher View Post
    This is not news to us English.
    We have been discriminated against in our own country for years.

    arent you the guy who only yesterday posted that you were on the run from spain for tax and vat evasion ?

    if so, you are no different from all the other scroungers, rogues, cheats and illegals that infest the world these days.

  7. #7
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    I worked with a somali asylum seeker at a University some years ago. God knows how he passed an interview as his English was awful, could barely make himself understood but was a pretty nice guy. Mostly though he complained about the council only giving him a 4 bed house as he needed a bigger one for his six kids and he was demanding one with double glazing. He did not even show up on asylum seeker numbers as he had first lived in Holland as an AS then came to UK for 'better lif' I imagine a normal white young couple have next to no chance of housing these days in London.

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