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Fear housing cuts will drive thousands out of Tower Hamlets

PUBLISHED: 17:45 27 October 2010 | UPDATED: 10:24 28 October 2010

Residents at Quaker Social Action's Made of Money course

Residents at Quaker Social Action's Made of Money course

Archant

THOUSANDS of East Enders could be forced to move out of the borough as funding for both private and social rents is drastically overhauled.

Up to 2,000 tenants in the private sector who receive Local Housing Allowance (LHA) will receive significantly less money by April.

Some are now arguing the cuts will end up costing far more than they save.

And many more in social housing may struggle to afford rent as rates are increased to up to 80 per cent of the market rate.

Jo Ansell, chief executive of London homeless charity Providence Row, said: “The effects of overcrowding and homelessness on people’s health should not be underestimated.

“The cuts will also mean more costly emergency accommodation. It costs over £400 per week to house one person in a hostel and that bill looks set to rise.”

But Prime Minister David Cameron today stood staunchly by the cap, insisting it was not “fair” that claimants lived in properties that many workers could “only dream of”.

Speaking in parliament, he said there were plenty of jobs in London for those out of work for more than 12 months.

But residents have spoken to the Advertiser about their shock over last week’s Comprehensive Spending Review.

Fatima Adbullahi, of Teviot Street, Bow, is enlisted on borough-wide course Make Money Work, to help her deal with a tight income.

She said: “If rent goes up it could force us out of the borough. It would be very hard to move away from my family and friends and change the children’s schools.

“We pay £350 per week now. We can’t afford to pay more.”

Another course member, Ferdous Begun, of Rounton Road, Bow, said: “Housing is my biggest concern.

“They just raised my rent in October and now it may go up again. We’ve already had to cut down on things for the children. I don’t know how we’ll manage.”

Quaker Social Action’s Kristina Leonnet, project manager on the course, helps around 150 families who are struggling with their finances every year.

She said: “The course is full until next year. Our users are worried. They need help more than ever, with the cuts they’re expecting.”

Ms Adbullahi and Ms Begun, who have five children and three children respectively, are in the group most likely to be affected because they require bigger - and therefore more expensive - homes.

A recent report on the new LHA caps by London Councils shows that only residents in a one bedroom property in the inner east area of Tower Hamlets will not be affected by the cuts.

Those in one bed homes in central Tower Hamlets will have their allowance reduced from £355 to £250 per week.

Families in four bed houses will receive only £400 per week, a drastic drop compare to the £1,050 they currently get.

They will have to make up the shortfalls or move out.

London Councils said more households will end up in temporary accommodation or in very cramped conditions.

The organisation is now urging the government to rethink the proposals in the capital.

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