Tuesday 7 July 2009

Migrationwatch and Mail ignore report it doesn't like on the queue jumping myth

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has reported on the issue of council housing and immigrants. Its findings were absolutely conclusive:
  • no bias in allocation of social housing
  • no evidence to support the perception that new migrants are getting priority over UK born residents
  • Nor was there any evidence of abuse of the system, including 'queue jumping' or providing false information.
  • less than two per cent of all social housing residents are people who have moved to Britain in the last five years
  • nine out of ten people who live in social housing were born in the UK
But the Mail (as Angry Mob has pointed out) has ignored these inconvenient truths and turned the story into a negative one with the headline One in ten state-subsidised homes goes to an immigrant family. It changes the emphasis to making it an anti-immigrant story and doesn't include the 'no queue jumping' news until the SEVENTH paragraph.

Even the Express has gone with 'Immigrants 'don't top housing list'', although the report itself is rather short. The Sun website doesn't appear to have any report on it at all.

The EHRC gives some suggestions for why there remains a public perception that there is queue jumping, none of which blame the media. Yet only one week ago, the Mail printed a lengthy article from Sir Andrew Green, of Migrationwatch, entitled At last, the truth about immigration and council house queue jumping. He wrote:

So who on these bulging lists actually gets a council house? Currently, it is decided on the basis of 'need' which, in turn, is heavily influenced by family size. And once granted residence, a migrant or an asylum seeker can bring over his entire family and thereby move up the priority list.

Of course local working people have seen this happening for years in their own communities. They know perfectly well that the Government have not been telling the whole truth - but few were prepared to listen.

And then he says that though evidence says this isn't true, that was 'dodging the issue:

A report was subsequently commissioned by the then Commission for Racial Equality which conveniently concluded that there was no evidence that newly arrived migrants were being allocated housing in preference to UK-born people. But that was to dodge the real issue.

And he includes the following line which would do the BNP proud:

white working class people were indeed being leapfrogged by new arrivals with large families.

The Mail took much the same line in May 2007 in the 'investigation' The truth about immigrants and housing queues, which included the caption: 'Immigrants now take priority on council housing waiting lists'.

Then there is the Sun who have twice run articles on MySun discussions which have suggested queue jumping - Has racial bias run riot in UK? and Life of luxury at your expense?

The Mail is a disgrace, that's no surprise. That the EHRC doesn't appear to have pointed the finger of blame at twisted media coverage for the queue jumping myth shows it's too craven.

1 comment:

  1. The first paragraphs of the EHRC press release and the Mail story side-by-side -

    "The vast majority of people who live in social housing in Britain were born in the UK according to a research study published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission today. The study found that less than two per cent of all social housing residents are people who have moved to Britain in the last five years and that nine out of ten people who live in social housing were born in the UK."


    "Nearly 400,000 homes have gone to tenants who were born abroad, the Government's equality watchdog has said.

    One in ten state-subsidised homes is occupied by an immigrant family, according to the first estimate of the impact of immigration on social housing."

    It's the old "90% fat free" vs "10% fat" trick...


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