City housing chiefs been accused of ignoring families who share their home with frail and elderly relatives.
Households where grandparents, parents and children live together, are not recognised a new allocations policy for council properties.
At a time when social services bosses are trying to encourage families to take in elderly relatives to cut the cost of care to both taxpayers and families, the Lib Democrat group claimed the proposed housing policy discourages such behaviour.
It also ignores grandparents who move in to look after children while mum and dad work.
The policy proposed grouping people into four priority bands in the queue for the city’s 60,000 council homes.
Lib Dem housing spokesman Coun Iain Bowen (Acocks Green) said: “We are concerned at families who wish to include elderly relatives in their household being unable to apply for larger homes. This includes families seeking to care for grandchildren.”
The Lib Dems also claim the policy, currently out for consultation, could discriminate against those communities, particularly Kashmiri, Pakistani and Romanian, who are more likely to share ‘multi-generational’ homes.
Coun Bowen added: “While the council’s allocation policy needs updating, the Labour proposals are draconian in removing people from the list. We are fighting for all those in housing need to have access to council housing.”
But city council housing chief Coun Steve Bedser defended the proposals to limit the definition of household that to “immediate family” – meaning parents and children.
He explained: “The reason for this is the very limited supply of larger homes that become available each year (150 or less). We think it is right that priority for this extremely limited resource should be given to immediate family groups rather than other forms of larger households containing non-dependent adults.”
He stressed that there would be exceptions for elderly relatives with substantial care needs.
He added that 79 per cent of people responding to council consultation support this view and that the consultation continues until February 17.
Coun Bedser (Lab, Kings Norton) added: “Our aim is to make the system as fair and transparent as possible for people in Birmingham. But you have to accept the scale of the challenge.”