‘Inside Housing’ reports;
“London boroughs have more than doubled the number of homeless families they are placing outside the capital as a result of the soaring costs of private rented accommodation.
Unpublished documents by London Councils, seen by Inside Housing, reveal that in the past 12 months to June, 789 households have been housed in 69 local authority areas as far flung as Manchester, Birmingham, Swansea and Accrington.
In the first quarter of 2012/13 just 113 people were placed outside London. But figures for the first quarter of 2013/14 show this figure rocketed 129 per cent to 259.
Karen Buck, Labour MP for Westminster North, said: ‘This suggests the crisis of affordability is rippling out across the outer boroughs. It is hard to see how local authorities can avoid this trend accelerating rapidly [when the overall benefit cap hits].
‘The numbers don’t have to be huge for this to be a massive problem; vulnerable families can fall between the cracks.’
Councils outside London warned they are not always being informed of placements.
A spokesperson for Slough Council, which received 94 placements from London in the past year, said: ‘Local authorities don’t always tell us about placements, despite it being a legal requirement. While we know it often saves money to house people in Slough… it does present its challenges.’
A spokesperson for Birmingham Council, which received 18 homeless placements in the last financial year, said: ‘There are problems if [relocation] information is not provided and we have previously voiced our concerns to both the Local Government Association and London authorities.’
Councils on the edge of London like Dartford, Reading and Luton received the most placements.
Nigel Minto, head of housing and planning at London Councils, said the numbers were lower than critics had predicted: ‘It’s a small percentage of the overall numbers [moved by London boroughs in total].’
He added that the squeeze on the PRS was being worsened by private landlords increasing rents and hiking costs by letting temporary accommodation on a nightly rather than weekly basis in London in anticipation of demand caused by welfare reforms. “