Two local people who have to leave our community

 By Cllr. Simon Hogg

Most weekends I knock on doors in Latchmere and listen to local people – last Saturday I heard two tough housing stories

First, I meet a 55-year-old Battersea woman who was worried sick that she will have to leave the house where she raised five children. “They’re all in work, I was strict like that,” she explains.Simon

She will lose 25 per cent of the help she gets with her rent – more than £1,000 a year – under the new ‘Bedroom Tax’. Her health is suffering as she plans to leave the area and lose the home where she raised her family: “My husband died in that room upstairs. I don’t think I could cope anywhere else”.

As I explain in this video

, I think the current housing benefits bill is far too large – but the planned cuts are deeply unfair.

Ten minutes later, I was speaking to a family man who works full-time but says he will become homeless on March 1st because he cannot afford Battersea’s run-away rents. His landlord has increased the rent on his two-bed flat by £200 a month. After our discussion, he was meeting a friend to arrange for a Saturday job – but he still didn’t believe he could afford to stay in this community and provide for his two children and pregnant wife.

The Evening Standard recently reported that private rents in Wandsworth increased by a staggering 11 per cent last year.

Wandsworth charges the highest council rents in the country – and this week I uncovered worrying evidence that suggests ‘Wandsworth council fixes rents by elections, not economics’.

Our local housing crisis is made worse as the council failed to secure our fair share of affordable homes from the luxury Nine Elms developments.

Battersea urgently needs a plan to increase the number of homes that local people can afford to rent and buy.

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