15/04/2012 05:55 BST | Updated 14/06/2012 06:12 BST

Frank Field Claims Too Many Homes Are Going To Migrants

The Government should review who is given priority in housing queues after figures showed that nearly half of new tenants in some parts of the capital were born abroad, an MP said on Sunday.

Frank Field, who led a review into poverty in Britain for David Cameron, said those "who have made most contribution to society, who have paid their taxes and whose children have not caused trouble" should be pushed to the front of the queue.

His comments came as a study by the campaign group Migration Watch UK showed foreign nationals accounted for 45% of new social housing tenants in Ealing, and 43% in Haringey, last year.

In Ealing and Haringey, only 2% and 1% of lets were missing nationality information, but in some boroughs more than a third of new tenants had no nationality recorded, leading to significant gaps in the official data.

Mr Field said prioritising those who had contributed the most would be a major change to the welfare state in which "benefits have to be earned rather than automatically allocated on need".

"For years we have been told that British people on the waiting list for social housing are getting a fair deal," Mr Field said.

"Yet, when the situation in London is examined, we find that, in reality, nobody has any idea how many new lets are going to foreign nationals and how many to British citizens.

"This scandal must stop. I have a Bill before Parliament that will ensure that those citizens who have made most contribution to society, who have paid their taxes and whose children have not caused trouble, for example, will have first choice of any housing available."

He added that the Government should also carry out an inquiry into "who gets the available social housing and when".

In 2010-11, 8.6% of all new social housing tenants were foreign nationals, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) figures showed.

In London, where 362,000 people were on the waiting list in 2010, the figure rises to 11% on average, with 45% in Ealing, 43% in Haringey and 20% in Wandsworth.

It comes after a study published by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) in 2009 found migrants arriving in the UK over the previous five years made up less than 2% of the total of those in social housing.

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migration Watch, said: "British people who have lived in the area for many years are given little or no priority.

"What is clear is that the proportion of new lets going to foreign nationals in London is far higher than has previously been admitted."