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Camden poor ‘to be relocated out of London’

Camden council is planning to move 761 poor families out of London into cheaper housing up to 200 miles away, it is reported.

The plans come in the wake of the Coalition’s benefit cap, which limits total welfare payments to £500 a week for families. It means the council will be unable to afford current accommodation and is looking at Bradford, Birmingham and Leicester as possible areas for relocation.

Camden has the fourth highest rents in the country and no more council housing is available. Most of the families in question have three children and will need to find an average of £90 a week extra to remain in their homes.

The leader of Camden council, Sarah Hayward, said: “We are deeply concerned with the continued cuts to welfare benefits and how this will impact on Camden. The very high housing costs in Camden and across London mean that low-income households will find it increasingly hard to find affordable accommodation if they are not in social housing.

“I can guarantee that no vulnerable people will be moved from Camden and we will step up our efforts to engage with those most at risk of losing their homes due to these changes. We will need to set aside additional funding to deal with the fallout of this policy as more people present themselves as homeless but sadly the only long-term solution for some households will be to move.

“Camden is a much better place because of the diverse population that make up its social mix and sadly these changes mean that some low income households will be moved further away from their communities, their jobs and their support networks such as friends and family.”

The Camden New Journal quoted Camden’s Conservative leader Andrew Mennear as saying: “London isn’t everything. There is a life outside of London. I give the council credit for looking at other cities to help people and looking at alternatives where there will be housing and people can live within the cap and possibly find it easier to find work.”

A report on the emerging impacts of welfare reform in Camden is available here.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “It's not right that benefit claimants can receive higher incomes than families who are in work. That's why we're introducing a cap on benefits – to restore fairness back into our welfare system while ensuring that support goes to those who need it. Local authorities must consider the individual circumstances of the household and they must absolutely not apply a blanket policy of moving homeless families to different districts.”

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Neil Nerva   18/02/2013 at 15:01

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