A Freedom of Information request by the Ham&High newspaper has disclosed that over £60,000 a month, or £720,000 a year of taxpayers money is spent housing 20 families placed by Camden Council in local properties.
The amount we are paying for the rent of just one family is £6,565 a month, that's £78,780 a year. Although the Housing Benefit paid from central Government may have been topped up by Camden Council at the expense of their Council Taxpayers.
The Ham&High adds:
With £1,641 a week to spend on rent, the family which tops the housing benefit list could have its choice of Camden’s most exclusive properties.
Six-bedroom houses in Kent Terrace overlooking Regent’s Park or on Highgate’s exclusive Broadlands Road are available within their budget.
Across the border in Barnet, the family could become the latest residents of Hampstead Garden Suburb’s ‘Billionaires’ Row’. A six-bedroom house on The Bishop’s Avenue boasting four large reception rooms, a sauna, private garden, self-contained staff annexe and gated parking for several cars is available at £1,600 a week.
Camden’s Conservative group leader Cllr Andrew Mennear says:
“Most people would say it is not right that people are able to claim so much when so many are struggling to afford their rent or their mortgage without any assistance.”
Cllr Julian Fulbrook, the Labour councillor who is the Cabinet Member for Housing, gave a confused quote to the paper. He said:
“It certainly is (a lot of money) and we’ll need to review it very, very rapidly before the housing benefit reforms come through.
“I can quote an entirely impartial political source, Mayor Boris Johnson, this is Kosovan-style social cleansing of central London.’’
“We are going to have to look very carefully at this. Sometimes, it is like the Roman Empire – you forget you own Hadrian’s Wall.
“We haven’t necessarily had a chance to focus on these specific figures. I am glad they are not as high as Westminster’s but even so, we need to review them very quickly.”
Labour politicians often claim the support Boris Johnson on this issue but after his radio interview he issued a statement saying his comments had been misinterpreted.
"My consistent position has been that the Government is absolutely right to reform the housing benefit system which has become completely unsustainable. I do not agree with the wild accusations from defenders of the current system that reform will lead to social cleansing."
The view of Conservatives, including the clarified Boris Johnson, is that using taxpayers money to pay a family's annual rent of £78,780 is wrong. So far as I can understand it the view of Cllr Fulbrook and the rest of the Labour Party is that such a situation should be allowed to continue.