Benefit cuts by the LibDem/Tory coalition government to some of the poorest families in London will see them driven out of wealthy areas and being moved to Bed & Breakfasts and private lets in Reading - and force prices up in the town.
Representatives of London boroughs told MPs last week that councils have already block-booked bed and breakfasts and other private accommodation outside the capital – from Hastings on the south coast, to Reading to the west and Luton to the north – to house those who will be priced out of the London market.
Councils in the capital have warned that 82,000 families – more than 200,000 people – could be on the move, forced out of London because private landlords will not cut their rents to the level of caps imposed by ministers. The councils have been "procuring bed and breakfast accommodation" to meet the demand of those being made homeless since last June.
This has a familiar ring to it. In the early 1980's I worked with homeless people in Reading and it wasn't unusual for London councils to arrange B&B rooms in Reading to house London's homeless - including giving them rail tickets to travel here. This sometimes made it more difficult and more expensive to meet Reading's own needs. This could well happen again, causing more costs to Reading Council.
It's no co-incidence that the LibDem/Tories have just relaxed the rules governing houses in multiple occupation. This begins to smell like a form of economic cleansing by the LibDem/Tory government.