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London's Newham council has been accused of 'social cleansing' after the authority asked Stoke-On-Trent - 160 miles away - to accept 500 of the borough's poorer families.

The council has claimed that it needed to move poorer tenants out of London because of the government's housing benefits cap.

Newham is one of the poorest boroughs in London, and is also the site of the new 500-acre Olympic Park.

As part of welfare reforms, the government has capped housing benefit at between £250 for a one-bedroom flat and £400 for a four-bedroom property.

The Labour-run council has claimed that it can no longer afford to house tenants on its waiting list in private accommodation, as the gap between market rents and the local housing allowance has become too large.

However, after asking Brighter Futures Housing Association in Stoke-On-Trent to take families, Brighter Futures' CEO Gill Brown said: "We are very anxious about this [request] which we believe signals the start of a movement which could see thousands of needy people dumped in Stoke with no proper plan for their support or their welfare."

She added: "I think there is a real issue of social cleansing going on."

Housing minister Grant Shapps also said that he believed Newham Council were "playing politics" ahead of the elections, and claimed that there were almost 1000 rental homes in Newham that fell within the cap.

Picture: Getty


Newham council accused of 'social cleansing' after asking Stoke-on-Trent to accept 500 families
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