The BBC is reporting that Hammersmith and Fulham Council “are considering” proposals to move at least “500 families from London to the East Midlands.” They are undertaking this enterprise with their two other tri-borough Conservative-run local authorities and using the astonishingly disingenuous excuse that there is “a shortage of housing in their areas.”
This shamelessly ignores the fact that H&F Conservatives are demolishing 3,500 council homes and selling the land to property speculators; that they have fixed planning processes to block any new affordable rented homes and even appeared on the BBC’s Homes Under The Hammer selling off individual flats on the cheap to property speculators who were made to guarantee H&F Conservatives that they wouldn’t live in the homes – they would sell them on at a profit instead.
Front line housing officers tell me that they have moved people to Margate and have threatened to move other families to Reading - although, true to form, senior officials deny this.
The families being moved out are those in receipt of housing benefits (HB) and Local Housing Allowance (LHA). The Conservative Administration has up until now denied their intentions to shift residents out of Hammersmith and Fulham – even telling a national newspaper this wouldn’t happen just 48 hours ago. Prior to that they refused to have any genuine review and over the last two years published a series of shoddy and unprofessional reports about the HB/LHA crisis that appeared to be designed deliberately to mislead - as you can read here, here, and here.
I have written to Mr. Melborne Barrett, H&F Council’s Director of Housing and Regeneration, for a full and objective briefing about this. I’ll let you know if and when I get that.