More than 500 families in Tower Hamlets could be relocated to other parts of the country due to benefits cuts and housing shortages, according to research conducted by BBC London.
This comes amid a housing crisis in Tower Hamlets, with recent reports finding that Tower Hamlets has only been allocated 27 out of 675 socially rented homes in the East Village Olympic legacy site.
According to the BBC’s FOI request, the Council is currently looking for affordable properties in areas immediately to the Southeast, East and Northeast of London.
Labour’s Mayor of Tower Hamlets candidate John Biggs said: “There is a personal tragedy behind each of these stories and the local political leadership needs to focus its efforts on a comprehensive strategy to minimise the impact of government policy, on lobbying against its impact and on maximising the wider understanding of what is happening.”
The BBC also found that a number of households have already been placed outside Greater London in Hemel Hempstead, Dartford and Gravesend as of July 2013.
In the FOI request, Tower Hamlets Council said: “Prior to the welfare reforms, our net costs were a very modest £154,000, principally because we were able to recover most of our costs through levying rent on the accommodation we provided.”
“The Benefit Cap has, at a stroke, derailed that to the extent that any savings the DWP might be making are being translated to additional costs to the council.”
Tower Hamlets Council explained that a budgetary provision of an additional £2.2M has been approved for the period from August 2012 to March 2014 to fund the cost of accommodation while working to move households to cheaper alternatives outside the borough.