Newham council wants to traffic tenants out of London

Newham council wants to traffic tenants out of London

16:54 PM, 24th April 2012, About 12 years ago 11

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Housing minister Grant Shapps has accused Newham Council, East London, of ‘playing politics with peoples’ lives’ over a radical plan to shunt homeless families out of the capital because benefit caps do not allow them to move in to local buy to let properties.

The council has a housing waiting list of 32,000 people and claims cuts to housing benefits mean tenants can claim a monthly allowance of between £250 for a one-bedroom flat and £400 for a four-bedroom property.

To beat the benefit cap, the council has written to more than 1,000 housing associations as far away as Stoke-on-Trent ‘offering’ them tenants and a bounty payment of 90% of the local housing allowance plus £60 a week.

Shapps says the scheme is an election ploy – London mayoral and local elections are due on May 3.

He also pointed out that a web search for rented properties in Newham highlighted more than 1,000 homes with rents cheap enough to fall within the benefit cap.

Sir Robin Wales, mayor of Labour-controlled Newham Council, has also launched a high profile campaign demanding a change in the law to let the council purchase a buy to let portfolio.

“Government policies push people out from the centre of London out to here,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “There just isn’t the capacity to deal with them and we end up chasing around the country trying to find ways to deal with people who are in need”.

“We’ve got hundreds of people looking for places to stay and the result of government benefit cuts, which are still working through as well, means that many more people from wealthier parts of London are looking for places to live in London and they’re just not there.

“We know it is very hard to get property in this borough and round the east end of London. We have written to 1,179 organisations saying could you accommodate some people? We’re not looking to push people all to one place, we’re looking to find the best possible solution for citizens.”

Meanwhile London mayor Boris Johnson said he would not accept ‘social cleansing’ of the capital by shipping out the poor and Shapps commented: “It can’t be right to have people on housing benefit to live in streets and homes that hard-working people are unable to live in themselves. The system is still very generous and I think Newham are perhaps playing politics given that we are in election season.”

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Mary Latham

11:03 AM, 25th April 2012, About 12 years ago

Perhaps this has been done in memory of Adolph Hilter 20 April 1889 - 30th April 1945?

Ben Reeve-Lewis

11:53 AM, 25th April 2012, About 12 years ago

Mary I am invoking Godwins Law against you's_law

Someone did the same to me yesterday on Twitter haha

14:49 PM, 25th April 2012, About 12 years ago

This issue is so much more simple than the media would have us believe. There are not enough properties in London to go around. That pushes up prices.
Even where there are properties available in the PRS some landlords will not consider LHA tenants, if not for the tenants themselves then for the bother of dealing with a complex and ever-changing benefits system which offers zero security to either tenant or landlord. And that's before we bring Universal Credits looming into the picture. 
It has always been the case, more acutely in London, that people can only live where they can afford to buy or rent. The Mayor of Newham has perhaps been shot in the foot by the regeneration brought to his patch by the Olympics which makes areas more desirable and, surprise, surprise, more expensive.
This storm in a teacup is the tip of the iceberg. No-one is stating the obvious. There has been negligible investment in social housing the last decade. The house building industry is at a virtual standstill. Demand is growing. The exchequer is not a bottomless pit of money.
There is no quick fix.
Radical and, sometimes, unpalatable solutions will be the only option left to some councils dealing with immediate issues. Talk of 'social cleansing' is purile and distracting from the very real issues LHA's face.

Ben Reeve-Lewis

18:06 PM, 25th April 2012, About 12 years ago

Teena I have been reading about the outsourcing of the poor all week, prior to writing my Friday newsround for Landlord Law Blog. Articles in the guardian have been particularly hyper.

Unlike most of the vicous, backbiting comments I have been reading, your comment sums it up succinctly. That is exactly what the situation is, without blame or criticism.

I dont agree with your commments about social cleansing, except insofar as to agree that it isnt the intention of the new rules, just the outcome. I believe that this is what it amounts to but its not the actual driving force. Even the hated 6th form prefects who currently run things arent that cynical

"This storm in a teacup is the tip of the iceberg" hahaha I love someone who mixes their metaphors as much as me.

21:26 PM, 25th April 2012, About 12 years ago

 What is not acknowledged, and what bugs me, is that working people, students all those not pigeon holed under 'Housing Benefits tenants' have always had to choose to live in an area where they can afford housing. For many this means that starting a family of their own and needing self-contained let alone bigger homes, requires them to move from an area where they work or have family ties. Yes the move from London to Stoke is an extreme example. But were I to choose to return to the town where I was born I would probably afford no more than a garage. What annoys me is that this issue is being presented as only affecting 'the poor'. As though somehow a working person chooses to commute 2 hours to work because they didn't fancy living nearby. To segment housing benefits recipients in this way is patronising and ignore the bigger problem around housing in our capital city.
And that is why I object to the media take on this issue. It is looking at the issue of housing supply in relation to only one group when if affects everyone. And the councils moving families away were keen to point out that the decision was taken in the light of family links or background in an area, children's schooling etc..
Everyone using the term 'social cleansing' is fully aware of the implications in terms of 20th Century history. To relate a pragmatic, possibly distasteful, housing policy to the mass genocide of innocent men, women and children is, to me, still, offensive.

8:29 AM, 26th April 2012, About 12 years ago

Absolutely correct Teena; you had to make a pragmatic choice to socially cleanse yourself to an area that you could afford.
Why should LHA claimants not be subject to the same decisions that working people have to make.
The rubbish that is spouted about LHA claimants being uprooted from their community is utter claptrap.
The only reason they have that community is due to the unrealistic level of benenfits.
Had they been required to take decisions based on normal people's financial circumstances they would be in another community.
Communties are created as a result of affordability.
Well the North is going to have to get used to more multi- culturism being exported out of now expensive areas of London.
This will change communties just like has always happened.
Money causes communties to change and benefit changes will enforce those changes.
It will save the govt a lot of money as LHA up north is a lot cheaper than down south.
Then there will more rental property for the PRS as a lot  will have been vacated by LHA claimants
There are thousands of vacant  cheap rental properties up North, so I have no problem with exporting Newham up North.
How about Hackney aswell send them oop north,when  perhaps they feel like rioting next time, it gets b----y cold up there.
Afro - caribbeans don't like the cold so perhaps they won't come out rioting again.
You never know the 75% of rioters that had previous convictions might go on the straight and narrow as up north there is not much worth nicking!
It would stop all the stupid postcode gangs and their drug dealing.
Then perhaps normal Hackney residents can walk the streets in safety.
The best punishment for those rioters would have been not to evict them but to effectively exile them oop North.
It doesn't matter either that there are no jobs up there; they haven't and won't bother trying to get jobs down south so send up North where at least the LHA bill will be cheaper and there are loads of empty streets of houses they can make their new communities.

Ben Reeve-Lewis

9:43 AM, 26th April 2012, About 12 years ago

Haha And Paul will be appearing at the Brighton Hippodrome shortly with Alf Garnett in "I'll tell you this" 🙂

13:52 PM, 26th April 2012, About 12 years ago

It never ceases to frustrate me how politicians fixate on playing politics while ignoring the genuine need to find solutions to housing problems. Perhaps Robin Wales should sign up to this for a more enlightened view:

3:28 AM, 27th April 2012, About 12 years ago

I think you can easily reverse the situation; so that these circumstances are nothing at all to do with really any cultural of ethnic  mix of the LHA claimants.
It is just pure coincidence as the relevant mix of any LHA population.
The whole situation is down to economics.
That is reduced level of benefits; however let's be obvious here they are not benefits they are wages paid by the state.
The wages paid to benefit claimants are considerably more than people whose wages comes from other sources.
Let's imagine that the North/ South divide is the other way round..
Rents start becoming too expensive for LHA tenants in Newcastle and so cast around for cheaper accommodation.
The council contacts councils in London to place some of their difficult Geordie LHA claimants.
There are streets of empty house in London and no jobs.
These Geordie engage in regular rioting and operate in gangs dealing drugs and having a particular patois to their specch.
They also have low educational achievement and are always complaining about being stopped by the police.
It is a fact that 75% of these Geordies are known to the police and have criminal convictions; which is why they are stopped, on the basis that once a criminal you are highly likely to still be a criminal.
So if I was a copper in Newcastle I would be stopping and searching these Geordies.
Now in Newcastle the LHA rates supposedly aren't enough to afford the rental property and consequently the stupid Geordie Mayor puts a call out for other areas in the country to take these LHA claimants.
London which is poor enough says it as it's own problems and besides that Londoner don't want a load of Geordies coming into London and bringing their Newcastle Brown drinking habits with them
They also like to enagage in smoking woodbines; alot of them and people find that objectionable.
London councils warn that a sudden influx of Geordies into already hard pressed London communities will cause backlashes against Newcastle, with burning of football shirts and pouring Newcastle Brown down the drains!!
Further complaints from the London population that these Geordies are unintelligible and do not mix into the local communty cause resentment form the the London citizens.
However whilst all this is going on it is conveniently forgotten that there is a myoral election occurring in Newcastle which could have a major effect on the coming national elections.
This is very conveniently forgotten in the hubris and xenophobia  over supposed social cleansing.
For that emotive term just replace living where your wages can afford you to live.
As these poorer Newcastle claimants cannnot afford Newcastle anymore they have to look seriously at cheaper places like London.
However it is pointed out that there is not actually a shortage of rental property in  supposed expensive Newcastle at all.
In fact there are over 1000 suitable properties available but funnily enough and for some strange reason the LL did not wish to rent to these poorer Newcastle LHA claimants.
NOBODY seemed prepared to ask the question; the proverbial elephant in the room, why wern't LL prepared to take on these LHA claimants when the LHA would have paid what those LL were asking for in rent.
Nobody from govt or local councils seemed to know the answer.
However nobody thought to ask the shining light of knowledge and understanding as to why this was and yet he was in their midst.
In actual fact working for a council in Newcastle as a TRO
His name was Ben .
Had his advice  been taken as to how to resolve this predicament, then magically those Newcastle LL would be more than happy to rent out their property.
But the Newcastle Mayor didn't want to know how to fix things, he had a political agenda.
He did not want truth to get in the way of a good political attack, hoping that this would help him win the election and also might help his political chums into power at the government elections.
So as you can see things aren't as they seem on face value and if you dig a little deeper you will find long term and ongoing problems with the way LHA is serviced, councils actions in clawback from LL and delaying tenants leaving LL properties by insisting they have to stay until the LL evicts them otherwise they the council won't rehouse them ,problems LHA tenants cause and a myriad of other issues concerning LHA claimants which over the years had deterred LL letting to LHA claimants.
So on this ocasion it is not economics that are actually affecting the situation it is govt and council inaction on sorting the things that need sorting to persuade LL to take on LHA claimants.
In particular in the rich North  particularly Newcastle.
Here endeth the lesson!!

Ben Reeve-Lewis

12:40 PM, 27th April 2012, About 12 years ago

Nurse?......the screens :)))

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