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Anger over plans to move London to Bradford district
Moving poor families from a London borough to the Bradford District to solve a housing crisis has been compared to “shifting deckchairs on the Titanic.”
Camden Council is considering moving hundreds of families to other local authority areas in the North as benefit cuts make it harder for them to rent London properties.
Areas reportedly targeted by the council include Bradford, Birmingham and Leicester.
But the policy has angered local politicians, who say Bradford is already running low on houses, jobs and school places without the migration of hundreds of families from the capital.
One councillor fears the move could put on additional pressure for building on Wharfedale’s green belt.
Labour run Camden council says a £500 benefit cap means 761 families, 2,817 people, would “struggle” to afford rent and may have to look to cheaper, Northern cities.
Councillor Adrian Naylor has criticised the idea of “off-loading” people to Bradford, pointing out that the district already had a waiting list of 21,000 families even before factoring in people from other parts of the UK.
He said: “We are already being forced to build 45,000 new houses. A result of the ‘let’s move them out of London’ thinking means we might have to build even more. Where will this money come from? We don’t have the jobs for these people either.
“This doesn’t help Bradford in any way, shape or form. It is just like shifting deckchairs on the Titanic.”
Coun Val Slater said: “There is often a misunderstanding, especially within London and the South, that Bradford is a low demand area with a plentiful supply of housing.
“This is not the case as there are currently 20,000 people wanting social housing. We have ten per cent overcrowding in some areas of the city and there is also sufficient demand for privately rented properties.
“We also have a severe shortage of school places, especially in those areas where families and children would be likely to be relocated.
“We have advised Camden Council of Bradford's position.”
The London council denies it has chosen any particular city to move people to, and has merely compared rent costs between Camden and other areas.
Leader Sarah Hayward said: “The scale of the cuts, high private rental costs and lack of available housing in Camden will mean that more people will soon have to consider moving from the borough and in some cases London entirely.”