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London borough to encourage migration north but Council says ‘no room in Bradford’
A London borough which is considering moving poor families to parts of the North to ease its own housing crisis has been firmly told there is no room in Bradford. Camden Council hopes to encourage hundreds of families to migrate to other parts of the country as benefit cuts make it harder for them to rent London properties.
Areas reportedly targeted by the council include Bradford, Birmingham and Leicester.
But the policy has angered politicians in the district, who say Bradford is already running low on houses, jobs and school places without the migration of hundreds of families from the capital.
Councillor Val Slater, Bradford Council’s executive member for housing, said: “There is often a misunderstanding, especially in London and the South, that Bradford is a low demand area with a plentiful supply of housing.
“This is not the case as there are currently 20,000 people wanting social housing, we have ten per cent overcrowding in some areas of the city and there is also sufficient demand for privately rented properties.
“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.”
Labour-run Camden blames the Government’s welfare cuts for making it impossible for poorer families to stay in the borough, which has the fourth highest rents in the UK.
It says a £500 benefit cap means 761 families, 2,817 people, would “struggle” to afford rent and may have to look to cheaper, northern cities. They are in the process of contacting these families and offering them advice.
It has denied it has chosen any particular city to move people to, and has merely compared rent costs between Camden and other areas.
Its leader Sarah Hayward said: “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.”
The council says it would only move people as a last resort, and has yet to speak to any other authorities about their plans.
But Councillor Adrian Naylor (Ind, Craven), criticised it for even considering “off-loading” people to Bradford, pointing out that the district already had a waiting list of 21,000 families.
He said: “We are already being forced to build 45,000 new houses. A result of the ‘let’s move them out of London’ thinking means we might have to build even more.We don’t have the jobs for these people either. This doesn’t help Bradford in any way, shape or form. It is just like shifting deckchairs on the Titanic.”