As we await the impact of the imposed upper limits of Housing Benefit, starting in April 2011, it appears that some London Councils have already decided on the likely results, according to this story in the Observer.
Representatives of London boroughs told a meeting of MPs last week that councils have already block-booked bed and breakfasts and other private accommodation outside the capital – from Hastings, on the south coast, to Reading to the west and Luton to the north – to house those who will be priced out of the London market.
Councils in the capital are warning that 82,000 families – more than 200,000 people – face losing their homes because private landlords, enjoying a healthy rental market buoyed by young professionals who cannot afford to buy, will not cut their rents to the level of caps imposed by ministers.
Apparently an unnamed minister compared the effects to the Highland Clearances of the 18th and early 19th centuries. What isn’t related is whether the anonymous minister thought this was a good thing or a bad thing. With the current lot, it is a fair bet that the minister has an aristocratic Scottish landlord in their ancestry. John Cruddas, with an eye to a more contemporary simile, described the likely effects as “an exercise in social and economic cleansing” .
Simon Hughes is voicing Lib Dem dissent – and Simon Hughes does know his social housing. An amendment to the rules for London is proposed to be tabled. Better move quickly, Simon…