London

Westminster Council may give employed housing priority

Council block
Image caption People in employment would be prioritised on Westminster's council house waiting list

People in employment could be given priority in getting a council house over those who are unemployed, Westminster Council has said.

The Conservative-run council said the policy was designed "to reward those who are in jobs".

But Labour councillor Guthrie McKie said: "To discriminate against people for being unemployed is disgusting."

A decision on the proposals will be made in February. If approved, plans will be implemented by April.

The council said the proposal was "designed to recognise positive contributions to society, reward those who are in jobs and to encourage those who are not currently employed to seek work".

'Political ideology'

Under the council's plans, working households will be defined as those where the main applicant or their partner are in work, have a permanent or temporary contract or are self-employed.

People who would be prioritised must have been working for a minimum of two years.

But Mr McKie said: "I don't think its a good policy.

"There should be a level playing field. We are in a climate of unemployment increasing.

"This policy is driven by political ideology, not the need to resolve problems with social cohesion in the region."

Westminster cabinet member for housing, Councillor Philippa Roe, said: "We want to introduce a system which is fairer to local people and rewards those in employment.

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