July 10, 2014
ADVERTS clearly stating that Asian applicants will get priority for sheltered accommodation were condemned by a housing minister last night.
They have already sparked a fierce racism controversy in the town of Chatham in Kent.
Critics say there would be an outcry if discriminatory adverts appeared saying that priority for the taxpayer-subsidised scheme would be given to white Britons. The housing association behind the offer has defended its actions.
It insists the home is always willing to accept people from any ethnic group but says the property was built to address a lack of provision for elderly Asians.
It provides translation services specific to this group, for example.
But last night Housing Minister Kris Hopkins hit back, saying: “People want to see fair play, and social housing should be allocated to local people based on need.
“Whatever the original intent, I am concerned that any housing policy based on race will undermine good community relations and harm integration.
“This is a classic example of the gold-plating of equality rules doing more harm than good.” The Apni Haweli flats, which have a warden to keep an eye on residents, are run by Orbit Housing.
Adverts posted online say that “preference will be given to Asian applicants”.
The housing scheme was set up in partnership with a local council in 2002 specifically to ensure there was enough sheltered housing for the area’s older Asians.
Members of the public commenting online about the advert argued that its wording racially discriminates against white people.
Some warned that such adverts were a propaganda gift to the racist far-Right.
But others praised the scheme for helping people from all racial backgrounds.