London Daily Mail, July 1, 2007
The number of state-subsidised homes given to foreign families is four times higher than previously claimed, ministers admitted yesterday.
They confirmed that 200,000 citizens of foreign countries hold the keys to council or housing association homes.
The figure means that one in 25 of the five million state sector homes is occupied by those who are not British citizens.
Six weeks ago Downing Street gave the impression that one in every 100 social homes is occupied by a foreigner.
The latest figures, confirmed yesterday by the Department of Communities, deepened the row over which families get social housing.
Culture Minister Margaret Hodge said in May it was unfair that newly-arrived migrants should jump to the top of the housing queue. She said this had created tensions among working class white families.
Since the 1970s houses and flats have been handed out on the basis of “need”, replacing the waiting list system which gave local families homes once they had waited long enough.