Category Archives: Asylum

Daily Mail still lying about asylum seekers and social housing

In July 2009 the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) released a report on social housing in which they correct the misconception that asylum seekers or immigrants somehow are top of the housing queue. The BBC reported:

There is no evidence that new arrivals in the UK are able to jump council housing queues, an Equality and Human Rights Commission report says. Once they settle and are entitled to help, it adds, the same proportion live in social housing as UK-born residents…

“It is largely a problem of perception,” he [Housing minister John Healey] told Today.

“The report shows there is a belief, a wrong belief, that there is a bias in the system.”

I posted a blog article on this at the time because just about every tabloid and media outlet reported the findings, except the Daily Mail who went with:

The article failed to make any reference to the fact that immigrants / asylum seekers do not ‘jump the housing queue’ or get any favourable treatment whatsoever. Fast forward to today and the Daily Mail are still pushing this false media narrative: ‘Asylum seekers last in the housing queue: Britain’s biggest council decides to put its locals first‘. The article gets exactly the response it wants from its readers, just look at the current best-rated comments:

Daily Mail readers hate immigrants

This is a myth that the Daily Mail just will not let die.

The Shameful Daily Express

Utterly, utterly appalling.

Cannot quite bring myself to really go into this right now. Words just somehow don’t feel like enough in cases like this.

Update:

The Enemies of reason has two posts on this, both of them well worth reading, so go here and here for those.

Left Outside has a brilliant post on this frontpage and an issue that you will be reading about on this blog shortly.

The incomparable Tabloidwatch has now posted on this.

And the infrequent but always eloquent and thoughtful No Sleep ‘Til Brooklands has also covered it.

All of which means I do not need to add any further to this terrible day for tabloid journalism because they have all said it much better than I could have managed anyway.


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Ladies and Gentleman: I give you the Daily Mail

As you are no doubt already aware I harbour strong feelings of disgust that the Daily Mail is read by around 2 million people. I find it hard to comprehend how that many people want to be fed a diet of hate, lies and just plain piss-poor information. Some would argue that there are worse tabloids out there – The Sun, The Daily Express etc – but today the Daily Mail has sunk beneath them all with its disgraceful reporting of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report on social housing.

I first saw this report on BBC Breakfast and heard more about it on Radio 5 Live on my way to work. The overwhelming emphasis of the report is that the impression that a lot of people have that somehow immigrants jump to the top of the social housing queue because of special treatment is entirely false. It is a myth. I immediately thought, how are the Daily Mail going to spin this one?

On the BBC website they go with the headline:

BBC headline

The opening paragraph and general coverage of the story:

There is no evidence that new arrivals in the UK are able to jump council housing queues, an Equality and Human Rights Commission report says.Once they settle and are entitled to help, it adds, the same proportion live in social housing as UK-born residents…

“It is largely a problem of perception,” he [Housing minister John Healey] told Today.

“The report shows there is a belief, a wrong belief, that there is a bias in the system.”

Reuters go with: ‘No evidence migrants jumping housing queue‘. Opening with:

Migrants to Britain are not receiving preferential treatment over the allocation of social housing as many people believe, a report released on Tuesday said. Last month, Prime Minister Gordon Brown promised to overhaul the system to “give more priority to local people,” addressing public fears that migrants were getting unfair treatment. But the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said research showed such concern was misplaced.

Build.co.uk go with: Migrants ‘Not Getting Housing Priority‘. Opening with:

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.

ITN: Immigrant housing priority ‘a myth’; Guardian: Claims that immigrants prioritised for social housing ‘a myth’; The Independent: Study ‘ends myth’ of housing for immigrants; The Daily Telegraph: Immigrants do not get housing priority, study shows. Even the Daily Express headline is refreshingly accurate (even if they still shout it):  IMMIGRANTS ‘DON’T TOP HOUSING LIST’.

So, how does the Daily Mail tackle this story? Well, this is their headline:

Daily Mail is scum

Yes, that is right, they use the report to beat immigrants and still insist that they are taking too large a share of social housing. They open with:

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.

More than half of the immigrants who live in council or housing association houses and flats are in London, the report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission found.

It added that four out of ten people born abroad who live in the capital are living in subsidised housing – a figure that suggests a million people in immigrant families have found homes in social housing in London.

And also feel the need to quote Civitas (think BNP in smarter suits):

But Robert Whelan, housing expert at the Civitas think tank, said: ‘In some areas most units of social housing are going to immigrants, which provides fertile soil for the BNP.’This report does not reflect the concerns of working class people and it is extremely unhelpful at a time when the BNP is hoovering up votes.

‘It does not recognise the claims of longstanding local residents whose families have contributed to communities for generations.’

I do not think any analysis is neccesary here, with this unbelievably skewed article The Daily Mail make it clear that they want to protect the myths that feed their own racist agenda. What do you expect from a newspaper that recently said: ‘The “British homes for British workers” plan, if it succeeds, will force councils to end the unfairness which sees immigrants with large families vault to the top of the council house list’. This has now been proven to be a myth, but you will not read that on the Daily Mail website, you’ll just read more lies piled up on the rest.