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Social Housing Fraud Bill – Gale backs successful Second Reading  

July 13th 2012

North Thanet/Herne Bay MP Sir Roger Gale has today (Friday 13th) backed the successful second reading of Richard Harrington`s Private Member`s Bill designed to make Social Housing Fraud a criminal offence.
The measure, which has government support, will help to free up thousands of social housing properties across the country by making illegal subletting a criminal offence. It is estimated that there are at present tens of thousands of Council and Association owned properties let to tenants who have obtained them on the back of fraudulent information and are then sub-letting illegally for personal gain at the taxpayer`s expense.
Speaking during the debate in the Commons this morning Gale said:
“Thanet is an area of high social deprivation and there are many young families that have been on the housing waiting list for a long time.  They, and I, find it offensive that some people are cheating the system by letting properties that they are not themselves occupying”.
And the MP added
“In Thanet there is a considerable amount of social mobility but it tends to be horizontal rather than vertical. Tenants acquire new partners and move in with them with the danger that a “lodger” or “friend” then takes over a tenancy without going through the system.  This must inevitably mean that those on the waiting list are bypassed and denied the chance to bid for vacant properties”.
Speaking after the debate Gale said:
“Now that the bill has received its second reading it will go through its remaining stages in committee and back on the floor of the House and has every chance of becoming law, which is unusual for a Private Member`s bill.  It is a modest measure but one that could assist a number of my constituents to obtain the housing for which they have been waiting”. 

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