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Wounded soldiers and widows get housing priority

Wednesday 4th July 2012

The families of those killed in the line of duty will be at the front of the queue for social housing, Housing Minister Grant Shapps has announced.

The Minister outlined how a change to the law would give top priority for homes not just to members of the Armed Forces with pressing housing needs, but also to their loved ones if anything happens to them.

Former servicemen and women, and those members of the Reserve Forces injured in action, will also be placed first in line if they have an urgent need for social housing.

The Minister said that the reforms would ensure that those who have risked their lives for our country - and their families - would have the security they needed at the most difficult times.

In the past, members of the Armed Forces could be pushed towards the bottom of local waiting lists as the nature of their job and the need to move from base to base often meant they couldn't prove the local connection to the area they wanted to live in.

But changes announced in new guidance for local councils will ensure that an exception is made for military families, so that they are not at this disadvantage when applying for a council home.

Shapps said: "This nation's heroes, serving in military hotspots around the world, put their lives on the line for us on a daily basis and it's only right that we should have the support in place for them and their loved ones when they need it most.

"That's why I'm ending the unfair treatment of military families on the waiting list. But I want to be sure that the safety net of social housing is not just there for those serving our country, but also the families that support them. So today, I'm planning for the first time to extend this help to those who lose loved ones on the front line, as well as men and women injured in the line of duty."

Shapps said he also wanted to end the perception that council houses were only available to those willing to play the system. The new guidance will also give councils and housing associations more freedom to use their discretion to reward ambition and achievement - ensuring homes go to the most in need such as hard working families - instead of those who merely know how to tick the most boxes.

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George Bailey


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