Saturday, August 6, 2011

Tory Minister Grant Schapps signals strong action in Council home sub-let fraud crackdown plans, Scotland also needs a Scottish Social Housing Bill

Dear All

One of the most despicable scams is Council tenants who sub-let their homes while living elsewhere.

Under proposals by the UK Government such people could be jailed.

All money gain through this illegal enterprise should be reclaimed under the proceeds of crime act!

Every single penny!

We also need such people to be permanently banned from acquiring social housing in the future.

Penalties for such behaviour should be draconian.

All money reclaimed from subletting
All money reclaimed in housing benefit
A massive fine
Permanent ban from social housing

If someone then goes on to use the same scam again in a private let, they should be banned from accessing tax payer funds via housing benefit to rent a property solely for their use.

If they try to get round the system by way of their family citing the Human Rights Act, they should be subject by Court order to periodic random checks to ensure they don’t abuse the system.

And anyone found to be living with them on a permanent basis, not registered on the electoral roll or registered with council, both individuals should be prosecuted.

And all unpaid council tax reclaimed.

Plus Prison and a massive fine!

Such measures as proposed by Housing Minister Grant Shapps should be expanded; he doesn’t go far enough in my opinion; equally the proposed measures also need to be brought in by the Scottish Government via the Holyrood Parliament.

We need a new Scottish Housing Bill.

Tory MP and Housing Minister Grant Shapps told the Daily Telegraph those abusing the system could have their homes taken from them and face imprisonment.

There is currently no criminal sanction against council home sub-letting, which is believed to cost about £5bn a year.

Under the proposals, properties taken from the sub-letter would be freed up to be rented to those in greatest need on the housing waiting list.

An estimated 1.8 million families are waiting for a council house.

Mr Shapps told the Daily Telegraph:

"Social housing is really precious and it's not right that tenancy fraud and abuse locks out some of the most vulnerable families from getting a roof over their heads."

Some people who sub-let are thought to earn as much as £20,000 a year from the arrangement.

And if anyone takes the time to watch the various programmes on fraud, they will notice that the people operating these scams aren’t poor by any means, they are living in nice houses and driving fancy and expensive cars.

All of that should be taken off them under proceeds of crime.

We need zero tolerance and draconian measures to ensure that the people who need social housing the most are fully protected, and given the social opportunities that are currently being denied them.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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