MORE than 50,000 families have been quietly shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years by cuts in benefits and soaring rents, according to a report in the Independent based on leaked documents.
The documents reveal an unprecedented number of families who cannot afford to find homes in their local area being uprooted from their neighbourhoods and dumped further and further away from the capital, cut off from their relatives and support networks.
The rise coincides with the Con Dem Coalition’s introduction of the benefit cap and bedroom tax, both of which have made it significantly harder for poor people to afford housing in London.
In 2010 London Mayor Boris Johnson vowed that the controversial welfare reforms would not lead to social cleansing, pledging: “You are not going to see thousands of families evicted from the place where they have been living.”
But official figures, which the authorities have previously refused to publish, show the problem is much worse than campaigners feared. They show that councils are currently moving homeless mothers and children out of their boroughs at a rate of close to 500 families a week, with numbers continuing to rise.
The Independent has uncovered cases of depression, attempted suicide and the miscarriage of a child involving those forced to move many miles away by their councils.
Families are being moved to locations including Manchester, Bradford, Hastings, Pembrokeshire, Dover and Plymouth. In many cases, councils are not telling each other when they move families, leaving vulnerable adults and children without the support they need.