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'Inhumane' council advises London mother to make 150-mile move to Stoke

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'Inhumane' council advises London mother to make 150-mile move to Stoke

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Local Government

'Inhumane' council advises London mother to make 150-mile move to Stoke 'Inhumane' council advises London mother to make 150-mile move to Stoke

A London social housing tenant has been told to move to Stoke-on-Trent because of the government's benefit cap.

Cecilia Bruce-Annan says that Labour-run Harrow Council is being "inhumane" by expecting her and her three children to move 150 miles away.

Ms Bruce-Annan has fallen into rent arrears of over £3,000 since the introduction of the benefit cap last year. The cap means that no household can claim more than £26,000 a year in benefits.

The council has told her that it hasn't any available affordable homes to rehouse her in - and has instead advised that she moves to Stoke-on-Trent.

However, Ms Bruce-Allan, who says she doesn't even know where Stoke is, has slammed the council's idea.

She said: “It is inhumane. I do not know anyone who lives even near there.

“First they want to make me homeless, then they want me to move to Stoke-on-Trent."

She currently lives a home owned by social landlord London Strategic Housing – part of the Network Housing Group.

The tenant says that she is unable to work as she has a one-year-old baby and two other daughters to support, and has fallen into arrears because of the benefits cap.

She has been told that, under the cap, her benefits will not cover rental costs in north-west London.

She said: “They cannot provide me with affordable housing where I live, where my children study for their GCSEs, where my child goes to nursery."

Councillor David Perry, the Labour council leader, said: “At Harrow Council, we do everything we can to support our tenants, using all the means at our disposal. That includes working in partnership with housing associations and allocating funds to help with tenants’ rent.

“We would much rather keep all our tenants here in Harrow than be forced to find them new homes in more affordable parts of the country. Relocation is a last resort. However, government welfare reforms and years of inadequate housing policy leave us no option. 

“We are determined to tackle these problems, faced by thousands of our residents – and have already announced plans to build 500 affordable homes in the borough. This is just the start of our manifesto commitment. However, houses cannot be built overnight and that means, for now, we are not yet able to protect every resident from London’s housing crisis.”

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