ONLY people who have lived in Southampton for three years or more will be able to get on the council housing list after councillors agreed to new proposals.

Last night Southampton City Council’s Labour Cabinet passed new rules to change its policy for how housing is allocated.

Around 15,000 people currently sit on the waiting list for a council house in the city and the authority hopes the new rules will cut that figure.

Those serving in the armed forces will be exempt from the new rules.

Cllr Warwick Payne, pictured, Cabinet member for housing and sustainability, said it will ensure “local homes go to local families”.

He said: “The very real issue is that demand greatly outstrips supply in our city.

“All we need above all else is quality new housing for our city. “This discussion is about how we spread the butter more thinly, and the real solution is to get more butter, but we need to make sure the housing is allocated as fairly as possible.”

Cllr Peter Ballie, Conservative ward member for Bitterne Park, criticised part of the proposals, which will allow people on high incomes to stay in council accommodation.

He said: “I think that not taking tenants’ earnings into account is absolutely bizarre – why should someone on £50,000 a year have a council house?

“Council houses are for the most needy in our society. The idea of a council home is it can be used for a step up to move onto other things.”