Freedom of Information requests have revealed the Mayor of Tower Hamlets’ plans to place up to 500 families in accommodation outside of London this year. The Council’s response shows that at the end of July this year there were already 400 households out of borough with the council anticipating upon “placing up to 500 households out of London” in the 2013/14 municipal year.
In order to make arrangements for this the Council admitted it was “looking for affordable properties in areas immediately to the South-East, East and North-East of London.”
To date families have been placed in locations such as Hemel Hempstead, Dartford and Gravesend but the impact of the Government’s housing reforms as well as the Mayor’s failure to take action earlier have led to the crisis progressively worsening over the coming year.
Labour’s deputy housing spokesperson, Cllr John Pierce, said:
“The devastating cuts being made by the Government are pushing more and more people out of their homes. The Council should obviously do everything it can to help people who have been made homeless but we cannot escape the challenge this presents with the Council facing even deeper budget cuts and an acute housing shortage.
“More than anything people need the Council and politicians to be honest with them about this challenge. The current Mayor promised he would not place people outside of the borough but now we learn that he has plans for over 500 families to be placed out of London this year.
“People will understand the situation Government has placed us in, they won’t understand a Mayor who says one thing and does the opposite.”
Labour’s Candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said:
"There is a personal tragedy behind each of these stories and the local political leadership needs to focus its efforts on a comprehensive strategy to minimise the impact of Government policy, on lobbying against its impact and on maximising the wider understanding of what is happening. At present none of these things are happening. It is a failure of leadership."
“Both social and private landlords have to recognise that they have a duty to work with the Council to provide for their tenants. As Mayor I would work in partnership with all the borough’s housing providers to see what else we can do to reduce the impact if these policies.”