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Hackney and Tower Hamlets top housing benefit poll

November 3, 2009

“The very high levels of housing benefit claimants in Hackney and Tower Hamlets is indicative of two things,” said Councillor Abjol Miah today.

“Firstly we have very high housing costs in the private sector in Hackney and particularly Tower Hamlets. This is as a result of the fact that demand for housing far outstrips supply. Many people who are homeless are spending a long time before they get permanent accommodation and this puts them into a poverty trap as they cannot afford the high levels of private rent without housing benefit to pay for those rents. This will only be addressed if the government pursues a crash programme of council house building, which it has so far refused to commit itself to.

“But secondly, it is indicative of a lack of jobs and employment prospects for many people in Tower Hamlets. If decent jobs for decent wages, given the high costs of living in inner city London, are not available for many residents in Tower Hamlets, then inevitably they will become dependent on benefit. We were promised that the Olympics would bring jobs for local people, but in fact very few have gone to long-term Tower Hamlets residents.

“And with the recession still biting, there is little prospect of the situation improving in the near term without some big changes in government policy.”

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