Newham Council want to move homeless families to Stoke-on-Trent

Reported widely on the BBC this morning, Newham Council says it can no longer afford to house tenants on its waiting list in private accommodation.

To solve this problem it has written to Brighter Futures Housing Association in Stoke-on-Trent with an opportunity for them to lease 500 homes to it.

The story first came to light in a piece written by Tristram Hunt MP for The Sentinel which was published on Monday, Olympic Torch shouldn’t light the way for exiles saying

Last week, a Hanley-based housing association received a disturbing letter from Newham Council, the local authority hosting July’s extravaganza, asking for help.

The correspondence explained that due to an overheating of the local private rented sector in their borough – caused by a combination of this summer’s Olympics and a buoyant market for London’s young professionals – it could no longer afford to house tenants on its waiting list in private accommodation.

Prices have been pushed too high. As a result, the gap between rents and the Local Housing Allowance – the fixed rate of housing benefit paid to tenants in the private rented sector – was too large.

The letter from Newham Council to Brighter Futures has been published on the Guardian website,

Sir Robin Wales the leader of Newham Council will be on BBC Radio 4s Today program at 0810 this morning.

0750 – Evan Davis has just reported that Newham have also contacted Peaks & Plains Housing Trust in Macclesfield.

0810 – Sir Robin Wales stated that Newham had written to 1100 different associations across the country to find housing for the 500 families.

More on this story on the BBC London council’s ‘social cleansing’ of housing benefit tenants

We’ll update this story during the day.

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