Camden families face ‘terrible reality’ of temporary homes outside London

Cllr Sally Gimson raised concerns about the future of Camden residents moved out of London. Picture:

Cllr Sally Gimson raised concerns about the future of Camden residents moved out of London. Picture: Polly Hancock. - Credit: Archant

Camden’s housing chief has admitted some families forced to move out of London due to benefit changes may be left stranded in temporary homes elsewhere in the UK.

Labour councillor Julian Fulbrook, cabinet member for housing, said the “terrible reality” of the government’s benefit reforms was that some of the 761 Camden families (2,817 people) to be hit by the benefit cap could be left without a permanent home outside London.

He said: “That is certainly the hypothetical situation that we have had to consider and we have tried to work on the options to make sure that doesn’t happen, but it’s very difficult to see how this awful situation can be avoided unless the government changes tack.”

He said officers will try to get families into a permanent council home, or a housing association or private sector home.

From April, the government will introduce a cap on the total amount of benefits received – limited to £350 a week for a single person and £500 a week for families with children.

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The council believes the £500 cap will affect 761 families on benefits not living in social housing who may struggle to afford to live in the borough.

If alternative accommodation cannot be found in Camden or in London, as a last resort the council has admitted it may be forced to look for housing in places like Birmingham, Leicester and Bradford.

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The council’s watchdog committee has also raised concerns about the situation.

Cllr Sally Gimson, who spoke about her fears at last week’s housing and adult social care scrutiny committee, told the Ham&High: “I think we as a scrutiny panel need to know how many will be affected like this.”

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