Media Release: Charities raise concerns about introducing age criteria to housing allocations

A PROPOSAL by the Scottish Government to let social landlords discriminate on the grounds of age when allocating social homes has been criticised by a powerful coalition of leading Scottish charities (1).

Says a spokesperson: “Spearheaded by Shelter Scotland, the charities have written to Scotland’s Housing and Welfare Minister, Margaret Burgess MSP, to warn that removing the current ban on considering the age of an applicant when allocating social housing could lead to vulnerable and young people being discriminated against.

“The charities want the proposal removed from the draft Housing (Scotland) Bill currently making its way through parliament. In their letter they say the allocation of social housing must be determined by the needs and circumstances of the household and that there is already a strong national framework which defines priority groups and permitted practices – age is not one of them.”

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, says: “The housing safety net exists to protect all who need it. By removing this important safeguard there is a very real danger that vulnerable groups and young people in particular will be unfairly penalised and will not be allocated the homes they desperately need and are entitled to.

“Allowing age to be taken into consideration when allocating social homes would be a big step backwards. We oppose this proposal and ask the Scottish Government to think again.

“Everyone needs a secure affordable home – whatever their age – and we will campaign vigorously to protect the rights and interests of all of Scotland’s 595,000 households living in social housing and the 155,100 on council waiting lists.”

Graeme Brown added:

“Coming on the back of threats from the UK Government to remove housing benefit entitlement from under 25 year-olds, this move would be seen as a further attack on the aspirations of a younger generation already facing major challenges finding work and a home of their own.”


Contacts: Neil Baldwin and Rachel Davidson – 0844 515 2442

Notes to Editors:

1. Signatories to the letter: Shelter Scotland, Action for Children, Barnardo’s Scotland, Children 1st, Children in Scotland, Govan Law Centre, Homeless Action Scotland, Legal Services Agency, Scottish Churches Housing Action, The Poverty Alliance, The Rock Trust, Who Cares? Scotland.

2. Shelter Scotland helps over half a million people a year struggling with bad housing or homelessness – and we campaign to prevent it in the first place. We’re here so no-one has to fight bad housing or homelessness on their own. For advice and support visit www.shelterscotland.org or call 0808 800 4444. Read its briefing paper on the proposal, here.

3. Spokespeople are available for interview – call the media office on 0844 515 2442. An ISDN line is available for broadcast interviews.

4. Follow Shelter Scotland on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/shelterscotland Twitter – http://twitter.com/shelterscotland

Shelter Scotland believes everyone should have a home. We help people find and keep a home. We campaign for decent housing for all.

PRESS RELEASE issued by Shelter Scotland. You too can post your story ideas for journalists (aka Press or media releases), on allmediascotland.com. Email info@allmediascotland.com for more information.

Contact: Shelter Scotland
Phone: 08445152442
Email: mediascotland@shelter.org.uk
Website: http://scotland.shelter.org.uk/news/march_2014/warning_over_age_discrimination