London council to move hundreds of families out of capital

A London council is considering moving low-income families out of the capital because it can no longer afford to accommodate them in private rented homes. Nearly 3,000 people, including children, who are on the council’s waiting list, could be part of the exodus.

Camden Council, which says that welfare benefits caps are pricing poorer families out of the area, is looking at moving families who are on its waiting list to Bradford, Leicester and Birmingham.

The council is to contact 761 households, comprising 2,817 people, likely to be affected by the benefit cap when it is implemented in April and which will limit total welfare payments to £500 a week per household.

The council says most of the families who will be affected have three children and would need to find an extra £91 a week for rent.

It says that Local Housing Allowance for two- and three-bedroom private rental properties in Camden is £300 and £340 but that the average private rent for homes of this size is £445.

Cllr Sarah Hayward, leader of Camden Council, said: “We are deeply concerned with the continued cuts to welfare benefits and how this will impact on Camden.

“The very high housing costs in Camden and across London mean that low-income households will find it increasingly hard to find affordable accommodation if they are not in social housing.

“Sadly however, the scale of the cuts, high private rental costs and lack of available housing in Camden will mean that more people will soon have to consider moving from the borough and in some cases London entirely.”

However, news of an influx of low-income families from London  has come as a shock to Bradford Council, which currently has 20,000 people on its own waiting list.

Cllr Val Slater, Bradford’s executive member for housing, said: “We also have a severe shortage of school places, especially in those areas where families and children would be likely to be relocated. We have advised Camden Council of Bradford’s position.”