Letter: Vote Tory, get a council house

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The Independent Online
Sir: Revelations about the designated sales policy of Westminster Council (report, 14 January) not only raise issues about abuse of power in local government, they also show that thousands of homeless families have been sacrificed for the sake of a handful of marginal votes.

Cllr Miles Young (leader of Westminster Council) claims the designated sales policy was highly popular and successful. The policy was, in fact, an attack on homeless families who, for years, have been placed in poor-quality bed and breakfast accommodation or forced into properties not only outside Westminster, but as far afield as Essex.

Westminster has more than 1,000 homeless families in temporary accommodation, three-quarters of whom have been placed outside the borough. This creates upheaval for families, who lose jobs, friends, family, school and doctors as they are placed in properties that are miles from their support networks.

The real disgrace in this affair is that the tragedy of homelessness has been increased while properties lay empty. The next time the Government tries to scapegoat homeless families it should examine its flagship borough's scant regard to the principle of housing people in the most need.

Yours faithfully,

MICHELLE BURRELL

LAYLA QURESHI

King's Cross Homelessness

Project

London, WC1

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