Today it has been revealed that one council in London is looking to move hundreds of its tenants further afield. Many have likened what is going on as a form of "social cleansing". Perhaps these "tenants" could utilise the European Court of Human Rights which appears to be so busy helping illegal immigrants remain in the UK, namely Abu Qatada.
In London housing is at a premium with an associated rent or price to buy. The prices have been astronomical for years. This means that those in London who may fall on hard times or always have to rely on some welfare support could be literally left out in the cold.
The cap will mean that housing in London will go to the more affluent tenant, or buyer which could change the whole picture of a particular area. Regions such as where this blogger lives in Yorkshire have cheaper housing costs as the areas have high unemployment added to many social problems. It now looks as if the governments changes could see people moved across the country to cheaper houses. This will impact on areas which are already classed as deprived or poor and will inevitably do nothing to increase employment. If you are moved to an area where jobs are scarce you are hardly likely to find work.
Whilst it is fair to say that people on welfare should not be living in prime housing stock there is much more to it than that. Some tenants may be the almost unemployable whilst others may have suffered bereavement, mental illness, redundancy and the like. So having fallen on hard times already is it socially acceptable to expect the person to pack up sticks, move to a virtual alien environment and start again.? You can of course quote many instances, when this is what has happened, and the result has been positive. Generalisations however never work. We are all different with varying needs.
Newham Council in London has been contacting councils as far away as 160 miles to try and find suitable accommodation for tenants affected by the cap. There may be some political games being played but in the hard light of day this is what will have to happen to many people and families. Moving 160 miles away from friends, family, schools and more can take some doing. However to have the decision forced upon you in order to secure a roof over your head is a disgrace.
You have to wonder what the UK is coming too. This blogger in 1968 went on a 25 mile sponsored walk for the Housing Charity Shelter. It was classed as shameful that back then such a charity was needed. Almost 45 years later the situation is set to worsen again as people lose their homes.
According to the Evening Standard, Mayor Sir Robin Wales 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.
Government Housing Minister Grant Shapps has dismissed the news as the Labour controlled council playing party politics. True there are local council elections scheduled for early in May 2012. However the fact is that the government changes will make it far more difficult for some people to be housed.Categorizing the reform as social cleansing may sound dramatic but that is what will happen. The UK will be able to look forward to large areas of poor communities with the many associated problems as opposed to wealthy areas with privilege and work.
Will this be the class divide of the Tories, 21st Century style?
Tags: UK social cleansing, Newham council, housing benefit cap, London housing costs, deprived areas, UK poverty