We’ve written previously about the way social cleansing from London has an impact on us out here in Essex: What happens with housing in London has an impact all the way along the estuary (and beyond). Each time we’ve written about this issue, we’ve made these two points a) people are being forced out of London against their will and b) people concerned about the impact of this on the housing situation out here in Essex need to be supporting the campaigns in the capital resisting social cleansing.
The Newham Recorder have undertaken an investigation into the number of households forced to relocate outside of the borough between 2012-2017 when the former mayor, Robin Wales was in charge: The great housing postcode lottery: Ex-Newham mayor slammed over 3,000 homeless moved out of borough. During that period, 3,292 households in Newham were forced to accept houses and flats outside of the borough, away from friends, family, schools and any support networks they may have been relying on. 449 of these households were sent out of London altogether. 156 of those were sent to Thurrock. We know that a number of households have also been sent to Basildon but have yet to obtain an accurate figure.
Newhams’s current mayor, Rokhsana Fiaz is putting the blame for this situation firmly on her predecessor and according to the report in the Recorder, has vowed to reverse this practice. We and our friends at Focus E15 would love to give Rokhsana Fiaz the benefit of the doubt and believe that she will make good on this vow – however, given Labour’s lamentable record elsewhere in London on housing, we won’t be holding our breath on this one.
The reason we’ve linked to this report from the Newham Recorder is that in the second part of their report, they deal with the story of a single mother housed in cramped, unsuitable accommodation in Brentwood. Behind the statistics there’s a human story of someone wrenched from friends, family and support networks to be dumped miles away in potentially hostile surroundings.
We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again. If people concerned about the housing situation out here in Essex are directing their anger at people being rehoused from London against their will, they’re directing their anger at the wrong target. They need to be directing their anger at the London boroughs complicit in social cleansing as part of the project of making the capital a welcome home for the super rich and their money. Money which all too often finds its way into apartment blocks, largely kept empty, that are flipped as investments in an overheated property market.
There are campaigns across the capital fighting this project of social cleansing, often against the odds. Ignore what the toxic divide and rule merchants out here with their reactionary have to say – the fight of housing activists against social cleansing in London is our fight and one we need to show absolute solidarity with.