Council tenant evictions have risen by 60 per cent in one year, a Freedom of Information request by the Hackney Green Party has revealed.
The request found 98 people were evicted from their homes between April 2013 and April 2014 due to rent arrears, compared to 61 the year before. Hackney Greens have blamed the Government’s Bedroom Tax and Benefit Cap for the rise after finding that 108 evictions took place in 2013-14 compared with only 72 in 2012-13.
Charlotte George speaking for the Hackney Green Party said: “These welfare reforms are hitting the poorest and the most vulnerable in our communities. How the Government can say that they are ‘fair’ and ‘helping’ people is beyond me.”
“We are further increasing the gap between the wealthy and the rest by ghettoising and victimising people who need help paying the ridiculous rents in Hackney.”
Philip Glanville, Cabinet Member for Housing for Hackney Council replied: “No Hackney Homes evictions were carried out in 2013-14 solely as a result of welfare reform changes. Evictions were due to historical arrears, tenancy fraud or other issues.”
“We know that the Government’s welfare reforms are having a significant impact on some of Hackney’s most vulnerable residents, which is why we have a dedicated welfare reform team to support residents through the changes to benefits.”
“Hackney Labour remains resolutely opposed to the bedroom tax, and in the run up to the general election next year will be continuing our campaigning for its abolition.”
Hackney Green’s findings come after Social Market Foundation research discovered over half a million social rented households are enduring in-work poverty.
The research cited part-time work and low pay as major factors contributing to in-work poverty with almost one in three social rented households in England claiming benefits in 2012-2013 despite being employed.
Circle Housing, one of the UK’s largest housing associations, said: “There is a worrying downward trend emerging” which should “serve as a wakeup call for all political parties as they develop their next amendments.”
The coalition government introduced welfare reforms including the bedroom tax and benefit cap in April 2013. George said: “The Green Party is totally against these reforms and other austerity measures, which target people who are already hard done by.”
“We need to build more social housing and reclaim empty homes to help with the housing crisis, and rent controls should be introduced across London. Only then will we see our society mending the schism between the haves and have nots.”