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Birmingham council hits back at Oxford over transfers to city
BIRMINGHAM City Council has said it does not offer the solution to Oxford’s housing problem.
The authority responded after the Oxford Mail revealed that families from the city were being offered homes as far away as Birmingham and Cardiff by the city council.
Single mums were among those told they must move out of the county if they wanted help finding a house.
The city council says they have rehoused five families outside of Oxford, including two in Birmingham.
But Birmingham City Council has said it has its own housing problems to deal with.
A spokesman said: “We will not turn our back on vulnerable people, but the simple message for Oxford or any other council looking to relocate people in Birmingham is this: We’re not the solution to your problem.
“We’re fully aware of the challenges many councils are facing, but they have to understand that demand for housing is also high here in Birmingham and we have our own pressures.
“If other councils are moving people to this city, we at least ask that they act responsibly and keep us informed so that we can put adequate support in place.”
Single mum-of-two Lisa-marie Richards, 32, was among those offered a house in Birmingham, as well as Cheltenham and Cardiff.
She has to find a new house after her private landlord in Bampton Close, Littlemore, decided to sell his house.
She said: “It is like a bit of a battlefield really, and we are the ones who are unarmed.”
Miss Richards said the council offered her an extra £83 a month from Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) to help with rent, but landlords were still turning her down in favour of people without children or who are not on benefits.
Oxford City Council’s board member for housing, Scott Seamons, has blamed the cap on housing benefits following Government cuts in the Local Housing Allowance.
But Green Party leader at Oxford City Council, Craig Simmons, said: “There is no way we should be throwing people out of Oxford.
“It is a policy decision of the council and nothing to do with a lack of funds.
“We shouldn’t be misleading people in trying to blame the Government when in this case there is actually money.”
Susan Brown, the city council's executive board member for benefits and customer services, said it was down to cuts made by the government.
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