London council asks to relocate families to Stoke-on-Trent
A LONDON council has asked a Stoke-on-Trent housing association to take on some of its poorest tenants because of the Government's housing benefits cap.
Newham Council said spiralling rents - partly pushed up because of the London Olympics - had forced it to approach Brighter Futures with a view to relocating families 160 miles away.
The council says it has written to 1,179 housing associations in a bid to find accommodation for 32,000 families on its waiting lists.
Mayor Sir Robin Wales has spoken on Radio 4's Today programme and said a combination of spiralling rents in the borough - which hosts the London Olympics – and the housing benefit cap meant it could no longer afford to put up tenants in the private-rented sector.
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But Housing Minister Grant Shapps accused the Labour-controlled council of “playing politics” in the run-up to next month’s local government elections.
Gill Brown, chief executive of Brighter Futures said London boroughs should not be allowed to “dump” tenants on cities such as Stoke-on-Trent.
She told Radio Five Live this morning: “I think there is a real issue of social cleansing going on.
"We are very anxious about this letter, which we believe signals the start of a movement which could see thousands of needy people dumped in Stoke with no proper plan for their support or their welfare."