Homeless Brent residents could be sent as far away as Banbury to be housed
PUBLISHED: 10:52 14 February 2018 | UPDATED: 11:12 15 March 2018
Residents that are being housed by Brent Council could be sent as far away as Banbury, a cabinet meeting heard on Monday night.
Conservative leader John Warren, said of the 42 properties which council-invested company i4B has registered at companies house, more than half are outside London.
The council currently owns seven homes in Hemel Hempstead, seven in Luton, and others in the home counties, and Hertfordshire.
However according to the council’s own housing model, the properties outside London are at higher risk of being left vacant.
At the meeting on Monday, the cabinet approved a further £116million funding for the company in order to buy 300 more houses.
A report presented to the cabinet, said that all the new homes will have to be situated in Brent. The extra money is in addition to the £100m given to the council-owned company in 2017.
The council also admitted that not all of the houses are occupied,
Cllr Warren addressed the meeting beforehand, he said: “I said when it first came into being that it is a risky project. Some people think it’s wonderful, but I don’t. It is putting Brent residents at risk.”
In response to Cllr Warren’s concerns about the financial risks for Brent, leader of the council Muhammed Butt made reference to Conservative-run councils that have recently been reported to be in financial trouble.
“The names of Northamptonshire and Surrey come to mind,” he said.
The meeting also saw Brent’s strategic director for children and young people Gail Tolley appointed as a director of i4B Holdings.
The company was first set up in December 2016 as a means of providing accommodation to families who are currently stuck in temporary accommodation.
Brent Council chief executive Carolyn Downes praised i4B, and told the meeting that the company gave Brent residents a chance to live in their own home.
She said: “We will be buying the major amount of properties in Brent going forward. It is not right that children are having to live in hostels,“ she said.
Cllr Harbi Farah, cabinet member for housing and welfare reform, said: “We want people to have a decent standard of accommodation and a secure tenancy at a rent they can afford.”