Outrage over Council Plan to Move Families to Midlands

Proposal described as "appalling " by homelessness charity

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There has been an outraged reaction to a BBC report that Hammersmith and Fulham Council is joining neighbouring boroughs Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea in plans to move up to 500 families from London to the East Midlands.

Smart Housing Group, a private housing provider, has proposed buying homes in Nottingham, Derby and nearby towns and use them to house the families.

Jeff Collings, general manager of Smart Housing Group, which proposed the idea to the Conservative-led councils said: "We are in negotiation with three London authorities at the moment but nothing has been agreed as yet.

"We have had tentative interest from a number of local authorities. They haven't progressed at all yet. The main discussions are with those three boroughs."

The BBC says the three councils are considering the proposals because of a shortage of housing in their areas, and describes the relocations as "temporary" until homes could be found in London.

But the proposal has already been slammed by homelessness charity Framework, who described the idea as "appalling".

Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter has also reacted angrily, tweeting: " Hammersmith Tories paid Council chief executive £281,000 last year - the highest in the country, according to the Tax Payers' Alliance report out today. Meanwhile Hammersmith families being forced to move to Nottingham by housing benefit cuts. Same old Tories."

Stephen Cowan, Leader of H & F Labour Group of Councillors has called the council's claim that there is a shortage of housing "disingenuous" and claiming theyl have already moved families to Margate and are threatening to move others to Reading.

Mr Cowan says he has written to Melborne Barrett, Mr. H&F Council’s Director of Housing and Regeneration for a full and objective briefing about this matter, and is awaiting a reponse.

April 27, 2012