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Inner-city housing costs and benefits

Many of us who work in housing agree proposed benefit changes must be examined carefully. But the talk of cleansing is nonsense – and may stiffen the coalition's resolve (Report, 27 October). Most inner-city boroughs have a significant social housing sector – in Camden, where your article states 800 families might be displaced, there are and will continue to be over 30,000 low-rent homes for poorer tenants, either council or housing association. And many more low-income or pensioned households struggling in private rent. In population terms that's over half the borough and it will stay over half, cap or no cap. So talk of cleansing is completely unjustified. As for the claim that 800 families will have to move. It's a crime almost as bad as the alleged cleansing to regard them as some leaden statistic, stuck on benefits for ever: some will get jobs and need less help. Some may be in transition, and not expect to stay put. Others will be moving, as people often do – something like 10% on average every year. Some may benefit from rent reductions – a survey of private landlords by London councils shows that 40% admit they are willing to cut their rent if a family can't pay. And some will benefit from "discretionary benefits" – we know that the government has trebled the allocation to £60m so families can be helped to stay where they are if necessary. So the number that actually have to move may be small – certainly not justifying one more utterance of this false "cleansing" rhetoric. read more:

 

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