Bullock on the impact of benefit reform on Lewisham housing

Mayor Bullock was interviewed this morning on the Today programme about how changes to housing benefits could effect London boroughs. Speaking to Evan Davies in his capacity as both the Mayor of Lewisham and the spokesperson for London Councils on housing, he said:

"We are not block booking bed and breakfast but we are looking at what is available. We are looking at the private rented sector in our area because we know it’s under pressure. What we’re doing is sensible preparation because if the problems happen on the scale that’s possible over the next year, we need to be prepared."

When asked whether it was an urban myth that Councils are spending money to relocate people, Bullock responded:

"What we’re doing is beginning the procurement. We need to know what is available, what costs are at the moment. I don’t think anyone is spending money today to reserve accommodation for the future."

He was then asked whether he was worried that Lewisham could received a “huge outflow” of people who are priced out of central London?

"For us, that is the major concern. There would be some effect on some of our current residents as well but our main worry is that we would see a significant population flow across the city, which would put our current private rented sector, which is already under pressure, under greater pressure. But also, if we get hundreds of families moving in to our borough, there will be issues around education, social care and so on.

"We all take the view that we want our boroughs to have a mix of housing tenures. It’s good for the nature of our communities and we’ve tried to get away from those enormous estates and so on. We do need to be careful not to stigamatise those on housing benefits. There are people who are working hard and receiving housing benefits and I am not saying we don’t want these people in our borough."

Here, we asked what changes the policy could have on Lewisham. Now, it seems we have the answer.

Thanks to 'Name' for the tip off.