From Joanna Kennedy on Z2K website, posted Thursday 2 October 2014Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales’ defence on the Radio 4’s Today programme this morning of his authority’s treatment of the Mums previously housed in East Thames Housing’s foyer in Stratford was as implausible as it was incomprehensible.
The “E15 Mums” may have hit the headlines because of some celebrity endorsement. And their campaign may be backed by many outside well-wishers. But it is the young Mums themselves who decided to fight back against their appalling treatment by East Thames and Newham council, and they have always been their own advocates in that campaign. The occupation of a building on the half-emptied Carpenters estate is a legitimate attempt by these Mums to keep their campaign for permanent homes in Newham in the public eye.
There is no doubt the Coalition Government’s caps on Housing Benefit are forcing families out of inner-London and into less expensive areas like Newham. However, Sir Robin’s approach over the past decade has compounded the problem of homelessness he claims to be fighting. First, the relative priority awarded to statutorily homeless households under Newham’s Choice Based Lettings scheme was historically so low, that it ended up with several thousand homeless people stuck in temporary accommodation for years on end.
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