Welfare cuts are leading to the 'social cleansing' of London, says Jeremy Corbyn

There is evidence the benefit cap is pushing people out of the Capital

Jon Stone
Tuesday 21 July 2015 16:00
Jeremy Corbyn, who is running for leader of the Labour party
Jeremy Corbyn, who is running for leader of the Labour party

The Government’s welfare cuts are leading to “social cleansing” of London, a Labour leadership candidate has said.

Jeremy Corbyn, who represent a constituency in inner London, argued that the effect of the benefit cap was forcing people on low incomes to move out of the capital city.

“What I’ve done along with 47 other colleagues is voted against the Government’s welfare bill because of the effects it will have on children of large families because of the effect of the benefit cap, particularly on high rent inner-city areas,” he said.

“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

“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.”

The Department for Work and Pensions’ impact assessment of the welfare cuts included in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill show that more than 330,000 children will lose out from the policy.

The benefits cap, which Labour expressed support for, will push 40,000 children into poverty, according to a DWP memo leaked in May.

Mr Corbyn has proposed a number of housing policies including building more council homes, giving private tenants help purchasing their homes, and rent controls for private landlords.

His comments echo the same turn of phrase used by Mayor of London Boris Johnson in 2012 when the Conservative politician said he would not allow "Kosovo-style social cleansing" in the Capital.

Over 50,000 families have been displaced from their home London boroughs by the cap in the past three years, the Independent reported in April.

Councils are being forced by financial pressures to find homes for people outside London boroughs, with reports of housing being located as far as 160 miles away.

Labour was last night split on the welfare cuts, with most Labour MPs and all leadership candidates except Mr Corbyn voting for some of the bill.

Some have said they will oppose the bill at a later stage after arguing for changes at parliamentary committes.

The main changes proposed by the Government are reducing the household welfare cap from £26,000 to £23,000, abolishing legally binding child poverty targets, cuts to child tax credits, cuts to Employment and Support Allowance, and cuts to housing benefit for young people.

Labour says it supports the benefit cap and cuts to mortgage support but not disability benefit cuts or the repeal of child poverty targets.

Mr Corbyn is one of four candidates for leadership of the Labour party, the others being Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, and Liz Kendall.

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