The truth about social housing and ethnic minorities

To an English public incessantly bombarded with politically correct propaganda on the evils  and illegality of discrimination based on race, religion, nationality or culture,   it will come as a surprise to learn that in one of the most vital things in life, a secure home,  it is quite in order to  discriminate generally against people who are white and particularly against those who are English.

The most blatant examples of this discrimination are housing associations whose properties   are either specifically for reserved for Black  and Minority Ethnic  (BME) tenants or have practices which result in most of their tenants coming from BME groups.  How is this possible in our politically correct world in which discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnicity or nationality is a cardinal sin? Section 35 of the Race Relations Act 1976 (RRA (1976) does the trick:

 “ Special needs of racial groups in regard to education, training or welfare—Nothing in Parts II to IV shall render unlawful any act done in affording persons of a particular racial group access to facilities or services to meet the special needs of persons of that group in regard to their education, training or welfare, or any ancillary benefits.” (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1976/74/section/35)

Here is how the statutory code of practice on racial equality in England interprets section 35:

“2.41 Section 35 allows housing organisations, including ethnic minority housing associations, to make special provision for certain groups; for example by developing temporary hostel accommodation catering especially for newly-arrived Somali refugees, who may have needs arising from shared traumatic experiences; or sheltered housing schemes for Chinese elders; or by providing wardens and carers who speak a particular Asian language; or by meeting certain dietary and religious requirements. Individuals should still be assessed according to their needs” (http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/uploaded_files/code_of_practice_on_racial_equality_in_housing_england.pdf)

The  definition a racial group under section 1 of the RRA (1976) is very broad:

“Meaning of “racial grounds”, “racial group” etc.

(1)In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

“racial grounds” means any of the following grounds, namely colour, race, nationality or ethnic or national origins;

“racial group” means a group of persons defined by reference to colour, race, nationality or ethnic or national origins, and references to a person’s racial group refer to any racial group into which he falls.

(2)The fact that a racial group comprises two or more distinct racial groups does not prevent it from constituting a particular racial group for the purposes of this Act. “(http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1976/74/section/3)

That definition does not exclude the native white population of Britain in theory , but in practice it does because no one in a position of public authority or influence would dream of suggesting that the white Britons, especially the English,  are suffering discrimination and should have HAs which cater to their special needs. However, British courts have ruled that, for the purposes of the RRA, Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers and Jews, constitute racial groups

The overwhelming majority of  BME HAs are  found in England. Over one hundred were created  at one time or another since the 1970s,  although the number has been reduced  through mergers.   The first Scottish one was not created  until 2004  http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/first-scots-bme-association-seeks-support-for-set-up/444544.article  . Wales was even slower off the mark (http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/wales-moves-closer-to-first-bme-association/445683.article)

The Federation of Black Housing Organisations was the umbrella body representing BME HAs until it  closed due to financial problems in 2008. (http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/end-of-an-era-as-bme-umbrella-group-closes/6502330.article) . The representative role has been taken over by  BME National  which is allied with the National Housing Federation.   This organisation represents 65 BME HAs in England (http://blog.bmenational.org.uk/about-2/). The mission statement of BME National runs:

■Be the umbrella group for BME housing associations that provides a consultative and promotional platform for BME housing issues.

■Represent and positively promote BME housing associations.

■Collaborate with the NHF to influence national housing policy.

■Promote equality and diversity in the delivery of  housing and support services.

■Promote the needs and aspirations of BME communities in addition to their contribution to successful, vibrant and integrated communities.

■Work with the NHF to influence local and central government, the Tenant Services Authority, the Homes Communities Agency and other relevant statutory authorities in establishing and implementing policies and procedures affecting the housing, support and wider interests of BME communities. “(http://blog.bmenational.org.uk/about-2/terms-of-reference/) .

 BME covers a wide range of minorities.  It includes blacks and Asians of all varieties, but also white groups such as Jews, the Irish and those from Europe especially the recent immigrants from the East like  Poles and Czechs.   The one group which does not appear is, yes, you’ve guessed it, is the English. The BME Housing Associations (HAs) which cater for them may be based on race, nationality or religion.

The  official definition of a BME HA is one where 80% or more of its governing body is chosen from BME communities.   In 2009 the proportion of BME housing associations governed  by boards consisting entirely of BME people was  31 per cent (http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/mixed-messages/6503767.article).

Further de facto BME  privilege arises in the employment  of staff and the granting of tenancies. Staff are largely drawn from BME populations, either from a particular group such as Muslims or the Irish or from various BME groups, for example,   Clare Winstanley, the chief executive of Innisfree, an HA set up to cater for the Irish (although it now  takes a more varied clientele) says  “The majority of staff and board members are Irish or of Irish descent” . (http://blog.bmenational.org.uk/2010/12/01/the-modern-role-of-bme-housing-associations/).

Where a language other than English is involved the exclusion of white employees will be close to complete. As Bashir Uddin, chief executive of London’s Bangla housing association, explains  “Our staff speak Bengali, Hindi, Urdu,” (http://www.housing.org.uk/campaigns.aspx).

Do tenancies in BME HAs normally go only to members of particular groups?  In the past the BME HAs were happy   boast about their discriminatory letting policies, but they  have become coy about them over the past decade  because they realise that nakedly preferential treatment of racial and ethnic minorities not only goes against the central tenet of political correctness (no discrimination), but will also give cast iron grounds for resentment and political action by those discriminated against, in this case the  native population.  Some BME HAs remain closed to all but the groups they were set up to represent; others  have expanded their lettings to take in a more varied  set of tenants. However, these HAs still have a strong predominance of the groups they were set up to represent and the variety in the tenants is heavily slanted towards members of other BME groups, for example, a n HA originally set up to supply housing to West Indians may take in Africans.  There has also been a trend  for BME HAs to be absorbed by mainstream HAs.

 Why is it important to have staff and board members who come from the ethnic group? ‘[Winstanley] cites the example of Clochar Court in the London borough of Brent,  as an “incredibly happy place” that houses older and elderly Irish tenants. She believes it would be different if the staff and most of the tenants weren’t Irish. “Memory becomes very important when you’re older,” she says. “It therefore becomes important to be with people for whom those memories are relevant.” (http://blog.bmenational.org.uk/2010/12/01/the-modern-role-of-bme-housing-associations/). That privilege is of course denied to the white native population who live in areas with large numbers of BME people.

There is also official government encouragement to give  BME people in housing associations  generally a privileged position. The official regulator for social housing The Tenant Services Authority (TSA)  states ‘Housing associations should focus on meeting the needs of the ever more diverse black and minority ethnic (BME) communities, particularly hidden or emerging migrant communities, where this is appropriate.’     (Good Practice Note 8 http://www.housing-rights.info/housing-associations.html) and ‘…develop and deliver allocations processes in a way which supports their effective use by the full range of actual and potential tenants, including those with support needs, those who do not speak English as a first language and others who have difficulties with written English’. (http://www.tenantservicesauthority.org/server/show/nav.14715).

In allocating tenancies to BME groups Housing Associations  have had a considerable  advantage over  local  council housing  because HAs can allocated tenancies are criteria they design themselves rather than operating the type of  open waiting list  points system driven  used for council housing. This allows them, for example, to offer places to immigrants who would not otherwise qualify for social housing, for example, asylum seekers.   However, this may change because the Coalition Government  has stated it intention to allow local councils to develop their own criteria as well. (para 4.8 http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/housing/pdf/1775577.pdf) .This has the potential to increase the ability of councils to show special preference to BME groups.

More generally,  section 19B (1) the Race Relations (Amendment) Act  2000 placed a  general  duty on those providing  public services not to discriminate: “It is unlawful for a public authority in carrying out any functions of the authority to do any act which constitutes discrimination.” This covered those providing social housing whether that be council housing or Housing Association properties.  That  Act and the  politically correct atmosphere of   modern England  generated   a  statutory code of practice (which had legal force)_on racial equality in housing  which not only required all landlords, private and public, to not discriminate but prove they had not discriminated in the allocation of tenancies and the treatment of tenants.  This involves the usual pc rigmarole of “Training, monitoring, and race equality impact assessments” which puts pressure on councils and  HAs to be ever more biased towards BME applicants.  (http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/uploaded_files/code_of_practice_on_racial_equality_in_housing_england.pdf).

Do BME groups take a disproportionately  large number of social housing tenancies? A Race Equality Foundation Briefing Paper of February 2009 Looking to the future: changing black and minority ethnic housing needs and aspirations is unequivocal that they do. “Many BME groups are already over-represented in social rented housing, and recent statistical evidence suggests that even those groups that have been traditionally under-represented in this sector are now entering it in growing numbers. (see Conclusion  http://www.better-housing.org.uk/files/housing/housing-brief11.pdf#search=”access”)

The Briefing Paper   highlights  the fact that BME  members seek the larger property disproportionately: “Large properties of four or more bedrooms form only 2 per cent of England’s social housing stock (SEH, 2005-2006), making it difficult for large households to access suitable properties in the social rented sector, especially via mainstream service providers… the demand for large family homes is addressed mainly by black and minority ethnic housing associations (BHAs) that work with certain communities in which large households are common. As BME populations grow, the need for larger family homes in the affordable housing sector may increase significantly, even if acculturation will eventually lead to smaller family sizes among the British-born generations (Penn and Lambert, 2002). This need should also be reflected in the mainstream sector provision.”  ( see section 4 http://www.better-housing.org.uk/files/housing/housing-brief11.pdf#search=”access“)

The Race Equality Foundation also asserts that BME people require special needs beyond the massive privilege of living in an environment populated and run by people drawn from their own ethnic/racial group: “The extent to which cultural needs and preferences influence people’s housing aspirations in terms of interior design vary between and within different BME groups. Black and minority ethnic housing associations, which house large numbers of Chinese and South Asian people, listed several elements that are of particular importance to their clients (HC, 2008a). Many of these preferences, such as kitchens that accommodate stir fry cooking, bathrooms with showers rather than baths and living rooms that can be partitioned, derive from people’s religious and cultural traditions.

“Other design preferences that appear to be particularly important to some BME households include a desire for large communal areas and separate kitchens and living rooms. These are important especially for Muslims and relatively recent migrants from Africa (HC, 2008a). Instead of being regarded as cultural preferences, however, these would probably be more accurately described as lifestyle choices. Nevertheless, it is possible that Muslims and recent migrants feel more strongly about these, or are more likely to prefer entertaining at home due to, for example, limited access to suitable communal facilities. As qualitative data reveals, cultural preferences are less important to most BME parents than their children’s needs and the desire to bring their children up in a safe environment (HC, 2008a). Although safety is an issue that affects all households with children, this may be even more pronounced for BME social tenants – partly because so many of them have children and partly due to the concentration of BME populations in urban areas and (often socio-economically deprived) neighbourhoods where anti-social behaviour is a bigger problem than in smaller towns or more rural residential areas.” (see section 4 http://www.better-housing.org.uk/files/housing/housing-brief11.pdf#search=”access“)

Are there any hard figures on the total number of BME people in social housing?  The answer is no for those born in Britain. For those born abroad we do have some solid statistics. These involve very large numbers .  In 2007 the Daily Telegraph reported that  “… after an investigation by ITV’s Tonight With Trevor McDonald programme, the Government has admitted that 200,000 of Britain’s social homes – five per cent of the total – were given to immigrants last year.”  (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1556229/200000-social-homes-given-to-immigrants.html) .   The official position  for 2007 is “… there were 191,185 general needs social rented lettings across England in 2006/07. The nationality of the named tenant was recorded for 170,363 of these lettings. Less than five per cent (4.54 per cent) of these 170,363 lettings were recorded as being to foreign nationals… “ (http://www.lga.gov.uk/lga/aio/1138584).  A report prepared for the  Equality and Human Right Commission  found that  “some 90 per cent of those who live in social housing are UK born” , that is,  ten per cent were immigrants. (http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/uploaded_files/ehrc_report_-_social_housing_allocation_and_immigrant_communities.pdf  – see p 64  ) . The giving of social housing to immigrants is indefensible when there are millions of native Britons either homeless or living in inadequate accommodation is indefensible. If British born BME people are also getting more of the social housing  than their numbers suggest they should then the white native Briton is doubly disadvantaged.

What is clear is that the native population in Britain  and especially the English is  being left without a voice while BME groups are having every support from politicians who pass ever more draconian laws to enforce “racial equality” and publicly funded groups which campaign on their behalf.   The mentality of those with power in Britain is demonstrated nicely by a passage in the Race Equality Foundation Briefing Paper:

“Exclusively white areas and areas that are known to have problems with racist harassment, however, are not regarded as safe by ‘non-white’ BME tenants and are thus seen as undesirable. As a result of active avoidance of areas known to be racist, many people from minority ethnic groups in effect minimise their chances of being subjected to racist abuse (HC, 2008a). In many instances, fears about racist harassment are well founded, since racist hostility remains a problem in many parts of the country (Beider, 2005; Hemmerman et al., 2007; Law, 2007; HC, 2008c). Racism, and the restrictions it places on BME households’ locational choice, is an important consideration that ought to be taken seriously by housing providers.” (see section 3  http://www.better-housing.org.uk/files/housing/housing-brief11.pdf#search=”access“)

The authors of the paper  are so biased in their mindset that they can only see the formation of BME ghettos   as a the result of white racism. It would not occur to them to ask why whites flee areas with large BME populations let alone conclude that the whites who do flee do so because of the racist attitude of BME residents.

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