Move to Midlands or be homeless: London mum brands council ‘inhumane’
Cecilia Bruce-Annan, from Edgware, north-west London, has been told to move with her three children to Stoke-on-Trent because of the benefits cap
A London mum has branded her local council “inhumane” – because she has been told to move to the Midlands.
Cecilia Bruce-Annan, from Edgware, north-west London, has been told to move with her three children to Stoke-on-Trent because of the benefits cap.
The 42-year-old, who says she has no idea where Stoke even is, says she has been treated viciously by Harrow Council.
She has been told to leave her housing association home of three years by September 4 after racking up rent arrears of more than £2,000 after falling into debt because of the newly imposed cap.
Ms Bruce-Annan is one of those that has been hit by the benefits cap, which was introduced in April last year. The cap limits the amount of welfare payments to parents with children to £500 per week.
She asked for help from Harrow Council but was told there are not enough homes to be rehoused and has to move.
“I don’t even know where Stoke-on-Trent is,” she said.
“It is inhumane. I do not know anyone who lives even near there.
“First they want to make me homeless, then they want me to move to Stoke-on-Trent.
“I have a one-year-old baby and two other daughters who I need to support.
“I am unable to work because I have a baby to look after and because of the benefits cap I have fallen into this debt.”
Ms Bruce-Annan was told that her benefits would not cover private London rents and she has no choice but to move 150 miles away to the Midlands.
She added: “They cannot provide me with affordable housing where I live, where my children study for their GCSEs, where my child goes to nursery.
“This is enough to give a mother a breakdown. It just is not right.”
Gail Bradford, housing solicitor at Harrow Law Centre, which has been supporting Cecilia, said: “Sadly, this is not an isolated case.
“We regularly see families whose lives are turned upside down, children forced to repeatedly move school and women forced to return to violent partners.”
Councillor David Perry, the Labour council leader, said: “We would much rather keep all our tenants here in Harrow than be forced to find them new homes in more affordable parts of the country.
“Relocation is a last resort. However, Government welfare reforms and years of inadequate housing policy leave us no option.”