Nearly a quarter of a million people could be removed from London in what’s being called, chillingly, an act of “social cleansing.” Once they’re relocated to housing leased by the government, do you think they’ll be free to come and go as they please? Hah! They can expect checkpoints and biometric scanners.
Ministers were accused last night of deliberately driving poor people out of wealthy inner cities as London councils revealed they were preparing a mass exodus of low-income families from the capital because of coalition benefit cuts.
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.
The controversy follows comment last week by Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, who said the unemployed should “get on the bus” and look for work. Another unnamed minister said the benefit changes would usher in a phenomenon similar to the Highland Clearances in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, when landlords evicted thousands of tenants from their homes in the north of Scotland.
Read more at The Guardian.