Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps raps councils over failure to provide homes for heroes
PUBLISHED: 13:00 25 August 2012
ANDREW PARSONS /CCHQ
HOUSING should be a top priority for serving and ex-Armed Forces personnel according to MP Grant Shapps, who blasted some authorities for failing to help heroes.
Housing minister Mr Shapps was responding to revelations that a large number of councils, unlike Welwyn Hatfield, were refusing to change their housing allocation policy to give priority to the armed forces.
The Welwyn Hatfield MP said: “Local residents will be shocked that council officials are covertly opposing housing support for members of the Armed Forces.
“Given the backing from across the political spectrum for the Military Covenant, I strongly suspect that councillors are being kept in the dark by officers who oppose reform.
“Councillors actively need to ask what their council is doing to help those who have put their lives on the line in service of our country.”
Earlier this year Mr Shapps said members of the Armed Forces will, from now on, be given top priority for housing help.
At the time he said: “This Government is not in the business of giving out pointless sympathy or hand outs.
“Instead we’re pulling out all the stops to give our brave armed forces a helping hand on to the property ladder.
“So I can confirm that military personnel are being promoted – instead of being just one of the priority groups for schemes like FirstBuy, they will now become the absolute top priority.”
He added that military personnel would be at the “front of the queue”.
Unlike the failing boroughs attacked by Mr Shapps, Welwyn Hatfield pledged its commitment to the scheme, but it was still being consulted on.
A council spokeswoman said: “In July, we formally made this pledge by signing an Armed Forces Community Covenant alongside other local and charitable organisations.
“With regards to our Housing Allocations policy, the Housing Trust, on behalf of the council, is currently consulting applicants on proposed changes.
“The proposals, among others, include changes to the way applications from former armed forces personnel are prioritised on the housing list.
“The consultation is due to run until October 2012.”
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