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Action needed to create house swap scheme

Iain Duncan Smith’s proposal to encourage the long-term unemployed to move to where there are better job opportunities has received a mixed response.

But it does shine a spotlight on a major problem for many social housing tenants — the difficulty for people to move within the social housing sector.

In a recent survey conducted by our House Exchange service — the UK’s only not-for-profit mutual exchange service for social housing tenants — almost 10% of people looking for a house swap cited employment as their reason for wanting to move.

Moving into a larger home or downsizing (which would greatly help in alleviating overcrowding), being closer to family and friends, and caring for family were other key reasons respondents gave.

There is a will is among many people to relocate for work, but in the absence of a nationwide house exchange scheme that all landlords are obliged to sign up to, we will struggle to create the fluid, free market of house exchanges that would help so many people.

David Williams Circle Anglia

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