The council is reassuring families that they will not be relocated as a result of the new housing benefit cuts implemented last year.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council is reassuring families that they will not be relocated to the north of England under the new housing benefit caps that were implemented in April last year.
As part of national welfare reforms the cap has limited weekly payments to £250 a week for a one bedroom property, £290 for a two bedroom, £340 for a three bedroom and £400 for a four bedroom.
The cuts have suggested notions of ‘social cleansing’ coming into effect as Newham Council, East London, are reported to have been in talks with Stoke-on-Trent to relocate 500 families priced out of the area.
With private housing provider Smart Housing Group allegedly proposing to buy homes in Nottingham and Derby and use them for London families, fears that residents of Hammersmith and Fulham may be displaced next have sparked.
“We have been working very hard with the private landlords. The biggest problem with Hammersmith and Fulham is that it is so expensive,” said a spokesman for the council.
“We are in favour of the benefit cap – it is the landlords who are the rogues in this.”
Hammersmith and Fulham Council are working to prevent the relocation of tenants; an approximate figure from the council shows that 90% of claimants are able to stay in the area.
So far seven families have been relocated to areas such as Slough, Woking and Colchester. The council explained that the families’ personal circumstances made such a move possible.
Councillor Andrew Johnson for Hammersmith and Fulham says that 63% of landlords they house people with have reduced their rents to below the cap and tenants therefore have not needed to move.
“We have set up a special fund of £400,000 to help bridge the gap for our most vulnerable families,” he added.
“While we are looking at a range of options, we have not signed up to any scheme to move large numbers of people outside London.”
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