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Benefits cap will evict thousands of kids, MP Jim Fitzpatrick warns

PUBLISHED: 13:46 13 June 2012

Thousands of East End kids and their families could be facing eviction because of Government plans to cap benefits which an MP claimed in Parliament was “Kosovo-style social cleansing.”

Around 900 families in Poplar and Limehouse alone who are receiving housing allowances above the proposed £500 cap are being warned by letter this week that they face eviction next April, Jim Fitzpatrick has told the Commons.

This will result in “social cleansing” where poor families would end up being moved out of Tower Hamlets altogether, he told MPs.

“We will not see and will not accept any kind of Kosovo-style social cleansing of London,” said Mr Fitzpatrick.

“The housing benefit cap will result in the forced eviction of hundreds of families from Poplar and Limehouse.

“I’ll emphatically resist any attempt to recreate a London where the rich and poor cannot live together.”

He was speaking during last week’s Recess Debate in which he revealed being told by Jobcentre Plus that there are 900 households in his constituency whose benefits exceed by an average of £200 the cap that the government is bringing in next April—some as much as £800.

“Nobody supports scroungers or benefit cheats,” Mr Fitzpatrick added. “There are many hundreds of decent people who have not been able to secure employment, through no fault of theirs.

“Those who will be punished are the children—that is not fair.”

Thousands more across London will be evicted if the capping goes through, he warned.

Commons Deputy Leader David Heath, replying for the government, said: “We must get it right, so we do not give huge amounts of money to people well beyond what a household on normal earnings can possibly achieve.

“Nevertheless we understand that when we are talking about families, we are talking about people.”

The families will start racking up rent arrears once housing benefit is cut, Mr Fitzpatrick told the Advertiser this week.

“Eviction would appear to be a real threat,” he warned. “This is socially divisive and potentially a disaster for the children.”

He is drafting Parliamentary questions for the Prime Minister and the Works & Pensions Minister asking what they expect people to do and is also seeking a special Commons adjournment debate.

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