Olympic borough may send poor residents away
Newham Mayor Robin Wales said a new UK government policy limiting rental subsidies means that many people can no longer afford to live in the east London borough that now includes the sprawling Olympic Park. Newham has long been one of the country’s poorest boroughs, but the newly built Olympic Stadium, a large new shopping mall and public parks have caused rents to rise.
Wales said he had written to over a thousand housing associations in other parts of Britain to ask if they can take in some of the 32,000 low-income families who need somewhere to live.
“The government has capped the levels of benefits so people are leaving, or being driven out of west and central London, where rents are higher, and they are moving to places like Newham,’’ said Wales. “We have hundreds of people wanting to find rental accommodation and we can’t house them.’’
In Britain, people with low incomes can apply to have all or part of their housing costs subsidized by local authorities, but the Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative-led government last year introduced a controversial benefit cap that limits rent subsidies.
The maximum is now around 400 pounds ($646) a week for a four-bedroom house. Most people are only eligible for much smaller properties with lower benefit caps.
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