London councils look to move housing benefit claimants out of capital

An inner London borough is looking to move homeless tenants to a housing association in Stoke-on-Trent, 160 miles away in the Midlands. Newham Council argues that it can no longer afford to house tenants in private accommodation in the borough because of the effects of the Coalition government’s housing benefit cuts.

The Mayor of Newham said that people from wealthier parts of London were seeking homes in Newham, leading to a shortage of affordable homes for people on its own waiting list. He said the council had written to over 1,000 organisations across the country asking for help.

The Coalition government Housing Minister Grant Shapps accused the council of playing party politics in the run up to local and mayoral elections.

A copy of Newham’s letter asking for help can be seen on the Guardian website. Other Guardian coverage of the Newham initiative can be seen here (24 April 2012).

It has also been in the Guardian that three Conservative London councils (Hillingdon, Croydon and Westminster) are also considering moving at least 150 homeless families claiming housing benefit out of the capital, to Derby and Nottingham (see London Tory councils consider moving claimants to Midlands).