Sunday, 24 July 2016

Shapps slams plans to move tenants out of London

The housing minister has called plans to move London tenants to other parts of the country because of a lack of housing ‘outrageous’.

Newham Council wrote to 1,179 housing organisations asking them to help house up to 500 tenants from its waiting list because it claims it can no longer afford to house them in private accommodation.

Grant Shapps told Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘Not only do I think it’s unfair and wrong I’ve also made legislation and guidance that says they’re not to do this.’

He also claimed private rents are falling – ‘they have been lower than inflation for some time,’ he said.

Labour MPs say the decision to seek accommodation outside London is proof that the government’s policy of capping housing benefit is already ‘beginning to unravel’.

According to the BBC, the Newham letter says the local private rental sector is beginning to ‘overheat’ because of the ‘onset of the Olympic Games and the buoyant young professionals market’.

It says the council can no longer afford to house tenants on its waiting list in private accommodation as the gap between market rents and the local housing allowance has become too great.

The council has been ‘forced to look further afield for alternative supply’, it adds.

Sir Robin Wales, mayor of Newham, said: ‘We’ve got a lot of people [on our waiting list] and if we can find a place where people have family or whatever then they can go.

‘We don’t want to do this, but we have to house people somewhere.’

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