Census figures show ‘Camden single mothers to be hit hard by benefits reform’

PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 December 2012

Cllr Theo Blackwell believes the benefits reform will leave women with children

Cllr Theo Blackwell believes the benefits reform will leave women with children "destitute".


The results of last year’s census were published last week and revealed some eye-catching findings.

Across England and Wales, the Christian population has dropped by four million over the past decade and the number of foreign-born residents has risen by nearly three million.

Since 2001, Camden has mirrored the national picture with an estimated population rise of about 20,000, accounting for approximately 220,000 of the 56.1million living in England and Wales – a figure which has increased by 3.7 million in the past 10 years.

Christians account for 34 per cent of the Camden population, a drop from 47.1 per cent in 2001, and the proportion of residents born abroad has risen from 36.8 per cent in 2001 to 42.5 per cent in 2011.

But among the most striking statistics are the figures relating to single mothers.

In 2011, there were 5,828 single mothers living in Camden, the fifth highest number across all of England and Wales.

Some 48.5 per cent were unemployed, distinctly higher than the average 37.4 per cent nationally.

Cllr Theo Blackwell, Camden Council’s cabinet member for finance, says: “There is a large amount of council housing so people can live here.

“People want to live here when they have kids because we have the best primary schools in the UK. If you’ve got a kid, Camden is a pretty good place to live.”

However, Cllr Blackwell sees a crisis in housing emerging as poorer single mothers face the coalition government’s dramatic welfare reforms next year.

From 2013, a range of benefits paid to claimants on an individual basis will be streamlined into one single payment which will be paid into a bank account in the same way as a monthly salary.

The new Universal Credit (UC) system will mean housing benefit will be paid direct to claimants rather than landlords and it will be up to claimants to manage their allowance each month to ensure they have enough to cover all living costs, including rent payments.

“What we will see is a lot of people presenting themselves to the council who have been forced out of their homes and put into temporary accommodation,” said Cllr Blackwell.

“All it’s doing is moving money in the housing welfare bill to the homeless bill picked up by the local taxpayer. The Hampstead taxpayer will be paying more to deal with homelessness.

“The government doesn’t have a plan, women with children will be destitute.”

Cllr Andrew Mennear, leader of Camden Conservatives, does not believe the borough’s single mothers will be as widely affected by the welfare reforms as suggested by his Labour counterpart.

He says: “I do not believe that the single mother population in Camden is quite the same as the single mother populations in Merthyr Tydfil or Southend-on-Sea, for example.

“We have a high number of single mothers because we have a more liberal population which has a slightly higher percentage of divorce and separation than other communities.”

Cllr Mennear insisted the current benefits system was “broken” and the government was “right” to make the changes.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 23:41

I live in the north west of London in the United Kingdom. Like the rest of the country, I have been looking on in bewilderment at the Brexit deal while politicians on both sides of the house vie for political supremacy. Divisions in government make for good news headlines but do nothing for the public’s confidence in its institutions.

Yesterday, 16:24

Normally we celebrate one business of the week – but today we’ve got three!

Yesterday, 15:17

A Routemaster bus will take 72 passengers on a journey through Greek Cypriot history, via Camden and Holloway, on Sunday.

Yesterday, 12:12

The latest twist in the saga of a Hampstead landlord who refuses to pay a controversial levy saw him bring a top barrister to his court hearing.

Yesterday, 09:48

Opponents of the 100 Avenue Road development suffered a major blow last night as Camden voted through a controversial plan that will funnel seven lorries a day through residential streets in Swiss Cottage.

Thu, 17:35

The families left homeless by the fire that destroyed the upper floors of Willow House in East Finchley last week said Barnet Council treated them “like ants to be squashed” in the immediate aftermath of the fire.

Thu, 12:44

The Temple Fortune community was celebrating on Tuesday after Barnet’s Finchley and Golders Green planning committee unanimously rejected plans to build housing on the old Templars Tennis Club.

Thu, 12:10

Tens of thousands of pounds, weapons and drugs were seized after searching a garage in the Peckwater Estate on Tuesday morning.


Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now