There has been a big increase in the number of homeless families shipped out of London by councils who cannot afford to find them homes in the capital, figures show.
The number of families rehoused beyond the city’s outskirts rose 27 per cent in 2014-15 compared to the previous year, according to local authority figures.
Numbers obtained by the magazine Inside Housing this week show the exodus is being driven by increased competition for temporary accommodation in London, especially in eastern boroughs.
London Councils, an umbrella organisation for the capital’s local authorities, last month revealed there had been were 1,653 placements outside the capital in 2014/15 compared to 1,292 in 2013/14 and 637 in 2012/13.
Additional figures reported by the Guardian newspaper show a sharp reduction in families claiming free school meals in the capital, leading to fears many have been pushed out.
Labour London mayoral hopeful Sadiq Khan, who obtained the figures, told the newspaper that the “the Government’s policies on welfare and housing have caused social cleansing in London on a vast scale”.
“Families have been driven out of large parts of the city ... this is not the kind of London I grew up in or want my daughters to live in.”
The Independent revealed in April that over 50,000 families had been silently shipped out of their home London boroughs in the past three years, many outside the capital entirely.
Local authorities have a legal duty to rehouse people who become homeless, but with squeezed budgets and soaring housing costs in the capital this is becoming a more complicated task.
The task has likely been compounded by the Government’s benefits cap, which has cut the amount benefits claimable by one family to £23,000 in London.
What does five more years of the Tories mean for Britain?
What does five more years of the Tories mean for Britain?
1/8 Welfare payments will be slashed
One of the most controversial parts of the Conservative manifesto was to cut benefits for the working age poor by £12 bn over the next three years. But during the campaign they only said where £2 bn of these savings would come from. That leaves £10 bn still to find. Some experts think the only way they can close that gap is by means testing child benefit – with millions of families losing out
2/8 There will be tax cuts for those in work and those who die
The Tories will increase the threshold at which the 40p rate of tax becomes payable to £50,000 by 2020. They haven’t said so but it is also likely that at some point in the next five years they will abolish that 45p rate of tax altogether for the highest earners. They also want to increase the effective inheritance tax threshold for married couples and civil partners to £1m
3/8 There will be an in/out EU referendum in 2017
The next two years are going to be dominated by the prospect of a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU. First off David Cameron has the daunting task of negotiating a deal with other EU leaders an acceptable deal that he can sell to his party so he can go into the referendum campaigning for a ‘yes’ vote. This may be unachievable and it is possible that the Tories may end up arguing to leave. Opinion polls show Britain is divided on EU membership, one poll this year showed 51% said they would opt to leave compared to 49% who would vote to stay in
4/8 There will be more privatisation of the NHS
Having won the election the Tories now have a mandate to go further and faster reforming the NHS. In order to make cost savings there is likely to be greater private involvement in running services, while some smaller hospitals may lose services they currently provide like A&E and maternity units
5/8 There will be many more free schools – and traditional state schools will become a thing of the past
The Tories plans to create 500 new free schools and make 3,000 state schools become academies. They will also carry on reforming the Department of Education and remove more powers from local authorities over how schools are run
6/8 On shore wind farms will be a thing of the past and fracking will be the future
Government spending on renewable energy is under real threat now the Lib Dems are no longer in power with the Tories. Subsidies are likely to be slashed for off-shore wind farm and other green energy supplies. Meanwhile there will be generous tax break for fracking as ministers try and incentivise the industry to drill for onshore oil and gas
7/8 There maybe more free childcare – but not necessarily
In the campaign the Tories pledged to double the amount of free early education for three- and four-year-olds from 15 hours a week to 30. The extra hours would only be offered to working families where parents are employed for at least eight hours a week. However they have not said where the money will come from to fund the pledge
8/8 Workers' rights could be reduced
The Tories want to slash business regulation, merge regulator and cut costs. The Lib Dems stopped them from reducing the employment rights of workers in power – but these are now under threat
The trend of moving homeless people into neighbouring boroughs and creating appears to be creating more competition for temporary accommodation.
This in turn forces more placements entirely outside the capital. East London boroughs saw a 65 per cent jump in homeless families in two years.
Labour leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn last month criticised the “social cleansing” of London which he said was being exacerbated by the Government’s welfare cuts and changes.
“In the absence of rent control all that’s happening in central London is that families who access benefits to pay their rent cannot get enough money to pay their rent,” he said in his justification for opposing the Government’s Welfare Bill.
“They’re forced to move away and it’s leading to a social cleansing of much of central London. If we can’t control rents then the very least we can do is keep families together.”
His rival Andy Burnham last night blamed the UK housing crisis on Right To Buy, which he said had undermined the social housing stock.
A spokesperson for the communities department highlighted the Government’s £500m national ‘discretionary housing payment’ programme which it says councils can use to fix the problem.Reuse content