|Illustration used in the Halesowen News|
The Halesowen News LINK states:
In a memo entitled Out of Area Placement Notification seen by the News Brent Council warned Sandwell Council officers of its plans.
The story goes on:We are housing tenants again in the Sandwell Council area due to the change in the council tax status.The memo also revealed Brent Council would be advising Hammersmith and Fulham Council to do the same.
We will be housing clients in temporary accommodation and emergency hotel accommodation (mainly houses) with offers of two year tenancies.
Deputy council leader Councillor Steve Eling said:
Within just weeks of the court's judgement that deemed there was no evidence of people being relocated from London to Sandwell, a London borough has placed a family here and another has confirmed it will be dumping poor families in Sandwell, apparently taking advantage of cheaper rent here.The stereotype in the illustration above may be ridiculous but such stereotyping of Brent families, already removed from friends and family, clearly presents a danger that they will encounter prejudice and resentment on arrival in Sandwell and the possibility that the children of 'invading' 'Cockney Benefit Tourists' will encounter bullying in school.
This is a direct result of the court's judgement in the case of Brent Council and would appear to apply equally to the others. As a result, we're powerless to stop this happening.
We believe some of these families don't want to come here either because it takes them away from family and friends.
This will create an added burden on Sandwell Council taxpayers who will now have to pick up 100 per cent of the bill for these extra families who can't afford to pay council tax - as well as potentially for families that London boroughs have already placed here.
That's why we introduced the two-year residency rule in the first place, to protect Sandwell taxpayers and Sandwell families who are most in need.
Following the court's judgement, we've had no choice but to suspend that policy. We'll now have to either make further cuts or ask everyone - including the most vulnerable and poorest people in the borough - to pay something towards their council tax bill.
Following the court's judgement, we now have a £1.6 million shortfall in the money to cover the cost of council tax discounts.
Thankfully the Halesowen News quotes the warmer words of another local councillor:
Councillor John Tipper said:
Whatever the finances of the matter is we have to remember these people who are coming into Sandwell are probably not coming by choice and are human beings who should not be demonised. I hope the people of Sandwell offer the hand of friendship to these newcomers.