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Teens want baby to land a property, says councillor
TEENAGE girls are getting pregnant to land a council house, according to a county councillor.
Wantage county councillor Jenny Hannaby said more needed to be done to address the problem at a meeting of the health overview and scrutiny committee.
According to the latest full year figures, the number of girls aged 18 and under getting pregnant fell slightly across the county.
In 2009, 26 per 1,000 girls fell pregnant, and 22 per 1,000 in 2010. This is broken down to 302 teenage conceptions in 2009 and 251 in 2010.
But according to figures for the first quarter of 2011, the rate is rising with data showing 27 per 1,000 girls conceiving.
NHS Oxfordshire, the county health authority, said full data for 2011 was not yet available.
Ms Hannaby, who is also a Vale of White Horse district and town councillor, said: “There are some people that get pregnant because they feel they can get a council house.
“That has got to be addressed in the districts.”
When Jericho and Osney councillor Susanna Pressel said it was a myth, Ms Hannaby said: “You come around my town and count how many there are.
“I’m talking as a district councillor and I know exactly what’s happening in my area.”
Local authority housing is decided on a banding system.
Priority can be given to people in certain situations, including homeless single parents and those expecting a child.
But Vale of White Horse District Council said there was no priority for women, whether young or not, who become pregnant.
Spokesman Gavin Walton added: “Applicants are assessed on their current living arrangements in line with our housing allocations policy.
“If a pregnant lady approaches us for assistance because she is homeless or threatened with homelessness we would work hard to help prevent her from becoming homeless.”
Oxford City has the highest rate of teen conceptions, with 33.6 per 1,000 girls falling pregnant.
It is followed by Cherwell with 25.1 and South Oxfordshire with 24.3 per 1,000.
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