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Tower Hamlets families moved outside London

Pic: Richard Lenarchand/Flickr

Tower Hamlets Council has admitted moving homeless families to accommodation outside of London.

The findings come just months after Eastlondonlines reported Croydon Council’s revival of the same policy.

The information came to light after the Guardian published a survey of housing plans by local authorities across London.

Tower Hamlets Council revealed in the survey that they have already moved a small number of families to Northampton.

In the report, the Guardian state that Hackney Council will take similar action in the future and quoted the authority as saying it is “reluctantly looking to procure accommodation outside London”.

However, a Hackney Council spokesperson has told Eastlondonlines that they do not know where the Guardian got this quote and said: “The Council has no plans to secure accommodation outside of London, and of all inner London councils Hackney places the second lowest number of families outside the borough”.

Unspecified councils told the Guardian the policy is inevitable due to the government-imposed housing benefit cap of £400. They said the shortfall cost, which could run to tens of millions of pounds a year, makes it extremely difficult to house large families in the capital.

Alison Garnham, chief executive of the charity Child Poverty Action Group, told the Guardian: “Families are facing the impossible situation of being told to move to cheaper accommodation that just doesn’t exist with London’s rising rents. London boroughs are staring at a black hole in their budgets as a result, with costs transferred from central to local government.”

Despite this, a government spokesperson said: “It is neither acceptable, fair nor necessary for local authorities to place families far away from their area. The law is already clear that local
authorities must secure accommodation within their own borough so far as reasonably practicable, and new rules will reinforce this.”

Since this article was posted, a Tower Hamlets spokesperson has said: A council spokesperson said, ‘No families have been moved permanently to Northampton. There are no plans to move any families to Northampton in the coming months.” 

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