Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Newham's housing crisis

A bold move to solve a desperate problem... or the callous treatment of the poorest members of society?

Opinion is bitterly divided over one London borough's bid to find homes for families on its waiting list: Newham council has asked towns hundreds of miles away if they can move there.

Newham says rising rents and the Government cap on housing benefit mean it can no longer afford to house everyone.

The east London council said it has written to 1,179 housing associations around the country - including one in Stoke-on-Trent 160 miles away - in an attempt to find accommodation for the 32,000 families on the waiting list.

Mayor Sir Robin Wales said a combination of spiralling rents in the borough - which hosts the London Olympics - and the housing benefit cap meant it could no longer afford to put up tenants in the private rented sector.

But Housing Minister Grant Shapps accused the Labour-controlled council of "playing politics" in the run-up to next month's local government elections.

Sir Robin said the borough - one of the poorest in the country - had been left struggling to cope with an influx of families from wealthier parts of the capital who had been forced out because of the housing benefit cap.