to think the south east has started to expel the poor

(269 Posts)
ubik Thu 14-Feb-13 13:19:23

www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/feb/13/london-council-relocation-benefits-cap

Basically Camden Council cannot cover the housing benefit for these families due to government cap on benefits. These families would have to find an extra £90/week to make up the shortfall. As I understand it, there is nowhere in the south east cheap enough for these people to live.

So they are considering moving them to a cheaper region up north, hundreds of miles away from their families, schools, jobs, friends, neighbours.

I find this incredibly depressing as someone who grew up in a normal family in London.
Is the south east expelling the poor?

PessaryPam Thu 14-Feb-13 14:16:48

Oh hang on, when I was first working I had to move 60 miles north of London and commute. That's life, why should they be immune?

fromparistoberlin Thu 14-Feb-13 14:16:56

what orwellian said

FelicityWasCold Thu 14-Feb-13 14:20:25

If there was nowhere they could afford to live in the south east then every council in the south east would be sending the same letter. Odd then that the guardian are only talking about Camden!?

Nonsensical piece of reporting.

fromparistoberlin Thu 14-Feb-13 14:28:26

send them to Northolt I say

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Thu 14-Feb-13 14:35:08

I feel just sad that people are happy to turf hundreds of families out of their homes but not do smethng about the whole messed up housing system. If Camden is so expensive, maybe we need to rethink housing as a whole. Not just clear the poor out to make more space for those who can afford it. Which won't be 'hardworking families' or whatever term you like to use.

I have moved for work myself but it is very different to being made to leave.

I feel the worst thing about this government is the way so many people now believe this crap about everyone being on benefits is a scrounger. Labour demonised asylum seekers, the Tories demonise benefits claimants.

Some of those families will be leaving their entire support networks, family, maybe older relatives who depend on them. It feels like the whole nation has had a compassion bypass when it comes to people claiming benefits.

RugBugs Thu 14-Feb-13 14:36:01

I moved from my family/friends in the SE to the NW a few years ago and hell yes it's a lot cheaper to live up here (3 double bed victorian terrace in catchment of an outstanding primary for £95k).
Of course I would like to live less than five hours from my family but I'd rather have a roof over my head and a black bank balance at the end of every month.

It does concern me. I don't think it is a good thing for London to become even more socially segregated than it already is. Currently, there is a mix of owned homes, private rental and HA/Council street properties (i.e. existing houses bought by the council/HA) and some purpose built Council properties where we are (Zone 2). I think the community as a whole will be poorer if the balance was to change too much.

BTW we do own property in London so aren't directly affected by this but I still don't like it.

p.s. Nothing wrong with Northolt!

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Thu 14-Feb-13 14:43:04

felicity - I think it is only four councils so far doing a trial, with the others in the trial looking at similar numbers. Most councils not yet following this system.

ubik Thu 14-Feb-13 14:46:11

Hmmm it's interesting that noone one questions why the rents are so high. I grew up on a council estate in London, with bus drivers, milkmen, secretaries, builders. We all had a little house and a little garden. Families were housed near each other.

I'm questioning why our capital city no longer seems able to accommodate families on low incomes.

Surely it's not about whether you the taxpayer can afford it (working families on low incomes also pay tax) but why there is no cost effective social housing available.

ubik Thu 14-Feb-13 14:47:26

And we are not talking about London - the stroy states that accommodation cannot be found in the entire south east! That's what shocked me.

Owllady Thu 14-Feb-13 14:48:54

I agree that the lack of social housing is a huge problem and part of the reason why the housing benefit bill is so high in the first place.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Thu 14-Feb-13 14:49:52

Yabu. It is sad but such is life.

Sashapineapple Thu 14-Feb-13 14:51:47

There are plenty of cheaper places to live in the South East than Camden. We work and couldn't afford to live in London so we don't. If benefit families can't afford to live in London then of course they should move. If they move somewhere cheaper then maybe they will feel that it is cost effective to get off benefits and get a job, which is unlikely if they stay in London.

wordfactory Thu 14-Feb-13 14:53:17

A huge driver of high rents in London has been the high level of housing benefit.

Once this drops, and landlords can't get tenants, rents should slow.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 14-Feb-13 14:54:35

"Hmmm it's interesting that noone one questions why the rents are so high"

Because there's been a lively market for properties at high rents. Whether that's been subsidised by housing benefit or whether people are just happy to put their hands in their pocket and pay extra for the privilege of living in Central London, who knows? However, if no-one can afford to live there and suddenly lots of properties are sitting empty as everyone relocates to Middlesbrough, landlords willl presumably drop their prices to attract tenants. If that doesn't happen and if the tenants are still queuing up to pay over the odds, then it's good old 'market forces'.

adeucalione Thu 14-Feb-13 14:56:06

Didn't Newham say they were going to start doing this, about this time last year?

Seem to remember that they were going to move about 500 families to Stoke - I wonder whether they really did it, or whether it was political spin?

MrsDeVere Thu 14-Feb-13 14:59:23

YANBU
But is what many people want.
They don't want poor people living in the places they want to live in.

Never mind that these places only become desirable when the they decide they are.

Parts of Camden are fucking awful and dog rough. Some of the 'kick em out' crew would wet themselves if they had to spend a night on one of the many estates in the borough.
15 years ago Summers Town was a place to avoid and where they housed the desperate.

Now those old tenements and flats are wanted so they will shortly be described as 'luxury london apartments' by the Daily Mail.

MC couples with children won't want to live in these places. So they will be bought up by singles and young couples. No more community, just another fecking Hoxton.

Used to be a few places were genuinely desirable in London. These were in the inner boroughs and the leafy suburbs.

But then Notting Hill becomes the new Kensington, Kentish Town the new Upper Street etc.
I see it where I live. Somewhere no one would have been seen dead in a few years back. Now they are convincing themselves it really is like Stoke Newington only cheaper and much more convenient. ...

How long before families start getting kicked out of this borough?

manicinsomniac Thu 14-Feb-13 15:03:43

Not if the bit of central London I just went through on the train is anything to go by. About 2 mins out from euston. Looked horrendous (small, run down, concrete blocks of flats, lots of them high rise.) I seriously doubt that the people living in those are especially affluent

Logically it is a bit mad that it costs so much more to live in a particular city though.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 15:04:39

"It can't be right that so many unemployed people can live in London at the expense of others, while people that work in London can't afford to live there."

The vast majority of people claiming housing benefit are WORKING.
The large amounts go to LANDLORDS.

I have a friend who for years lived in a square in Canonbury.
She was from that area-her grandma lived round the corner. She lived in a rented flat that a relative had lived in, and shared it with a friend. She was forced out by the LL pushing her rent up, and up, and up.
Now she lives in Walthamstow, which would be OK I guess , but she has been forced from her HOME and now it is a lot more difficult for her to shop for her grandma.
It's no different to the people in rural areas in places like Cornwall who are priced right out of the housing market due to tourists and second homers.

It has become a luxury to live in an Inner London borough. Why? It's our capital city! Should it really be just reserved for the rich?
Boroughs like Ken and Chelsea are full of empty houses, owned by super rich non domiciled people who are rarely in them.

I can't BEAR all the BITTERNESS and envy radiating from the people who say "well I had to move somewhere cheaper".
FFS.
Focus on the actual problem that rent is INSANE, that rich foreigners who do not pay tax here can push up property prices in London to the extent they have, that many many people actually work in Inner London areas and have to get to work as A and E nurses, bin men, teachers, nursery workers. They are manning the tills at Sainsburys and working on market stalls.

And please don't send them up North. We have few enough jobs up here as it is.

fromparistoberlin Thu 14-Feb-13 15:04:58

I know chaz, I live just down the road ! I use it as an example only as its green , on the tube, and cheaper

Noone can bloody afford to live in Camden/Westminster that I know

I think London had some very expensive areas, AND London is bloody HUGE

so whilst there any many thing to worry about, for me this is not one of them

yellowred, people could move to Cricklewood which is a hell of alot cheaper and only 3 miles away, for example

Its not a "fuck you poor people" thing, I really dont feel like that

Shagmundfreud Thu 14-Feb-13 15:06:05

I live in one of the cheaper parts of London.

We have a massive shortage of affordable houses and school places in my borough.

We can't accommodate people moved out of more expensive areas.

IfNotNowThenWhen Thu 14-Feb-13 15:10:28

Exactly Mrs D. Who decides that somewhere is "too nice"?
(and you are dead right about the estates in Camden.)
I lived in Kentish Town, and it was always pretty squalid. The thing is, the high St still is, because the people who use the high St are the poor who still live in the council estates.
The rich, living in the nice houses never use the high st. They don't drink in the pubs. They drive in and out. They send their kids to far away private schools. They bring nothing.

Do people really still need reminding that housing benefit is not just for the unemployed? It's also for those people who work but are on a low wage. Eg. the ones who can't afford to commute to work.

StormyBrid Thu 14-Feb-13 15:10:48

"If they move somewhere cheaper then maybe they will feel that it is cost effective to get off benefits and get a job"

Doubtful. Disclaimer: these are made up figures to illustrate the point. Say a family currently qualifies for £200 a week in housing benefit, and £400 a week in all other benefits combined. The cap means the other benefits are unaffected, but the housing benefit is reduced to £100 a week, leaving the family £100 short per week. So, you move the family to a cheaper area, where an equivalent property costs £100 a week rather than £200. Housing benefit covers that, their other benefits are unaffected, they're under the cap, they're effectively living on the same amount of money per week as they were in London.

What this means is that if you honestly think ensuring people cannot afford to live will make them get jobs when there are no jobs, then you're better off leaving them in London, because the cap screws them more effectively there.

Dannilion Thu 14-Feb-13 15:11:37

I live in the South East, approx 50 -60 minutes away from central London and obviously a bit less to SE London. My privately rented 3 be terraced house with garden is £750pcm. So £173ish a week.

If a family cannot afford that out of their £500 a week budget perhaps the problem lies within their money management skills, and not their lack of benefits.

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