Move to Birmingham, family told

Jason Stone and his daughter Ashlie. Picture: OX67536  David Fleming

Jason Stone and his daughter Ashlie. Picture: OX67536 David Fleming Buy this photo

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys. Call me on 01865 425403

A SINGLE father faces moving to Birmingham with his five-year-old daughter because there is nowhere for him to live in Oxford.

Jason Stone, who is living in emergency housing in Marlborough Road, was told by Oxford City Council it cannot provide him with any permanent housing locally.

He said: “What they are trying to say is that there’s no properties anywhere for people in Oxford, and that I have got no choice but to move to Birmingham.

“I was born in Oxford and my daughter Ashlie was born here and we don’t want to leave. To uproot my life and my child’s life to go to Birmingham is just not an option.”

Councils can send homeless people to live in other cities if they cannot find a suitable private rental property cheap enough to be managed on benefits.

Mr Stone has sole custody of his daughter, and also has a young son whom he looks after during the day.

Under new housing benefit caps, Mr Stone says he is entitled to £825.80 per calendar month and had found a two-bed house in Rose Hill for £950 a month.

He says he was told that even if he made up the difference from his part-time wages, the council would not accept that.

Instead they offered him a two-bed flat in Birmingham costing £525 per month.

He said: “My daughter’s emotional support is here. I’ve got to keep her here. She’s stable in school, she has a normal life now.

“All my hard work I’ve done to get her into that life is being thrown back in my face. I would have to start again. I also look after my son every day, when his mum’s at work, so I can’t just leave him behind.”

The 29-year-old, who works part-time as a waiter and barman at Aziz Express in the Ozone Leisure Park, Oxford, said: “It wouldn’t be so bad if it was somewhere like Abingdon or Witney, that’s close by, but Birmingham’s miles away.”

In the past year the council has offered 12 families homes outside of the county with just four accepting, including two in Birmingham.

Tenants do not have to go, but if they refuse they are then responsible for finding their own accommodation. They can appeal the decision and an independent officer decides if the decision is necessary.

Council leader Bob Price blamed the cap on housing benefit and lack of affordable homes for the situation.

He said: “The question is, can we find accommodation within the Local Housing Allowance? We are in a difficult housing situation. There is a very significant shortage of houses in Oxford and very high prices.”

The city council pledged to continue to work with the family.

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Comments (8)

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9:22am Fri 30 May 14

HomerSimpsonDoh says...

Don't blame the council, its this Tory toff goverment that is causing all this heartbreak. Many families have to move out of homes that they have lived in all their life to pay for the tax cuts to the Tories rich friends.Sounds like something that happened in 1943.
Don't blame the council, its this Tory toff goverment that is causing all this heartbreak. Many families have to move out of homes that they have lived in all their life to pay for the tax cuts to the Tories rich friends.Sounds like something that happened in 1943. HomerSimpsonDoh
  • Score: -12

9:41am Fri 30 May 14

skylukewalker says...

No one is telling him he has to move to Birmingham, he is simply being offered subsidised housing in Birmingham. The council is being very generous in its offer of a safe and affordable home in a new city with greater employment opportunities than Oxford. Yes, moving away from home can be difficult and even distressing, but many working families face this everyday and often without the assistance from the council. Children of military families receive no such sob stories when they are obliged to move all over the country.
No one is telling him he has to move to Birmingham, he is simply being offered subsidised housing in Birmingham. The council is being very generous in its offer of a safe and affordable home in a new city with greater employment opportunities than Oxford. Yes, moving away from home can be difficult and even distressing, but many working families face this everyday and often without the assistance from the council. Children of military families receive no such sob stories when they are obliged to move all over the country. skylukewalker
  • Score: 3

10:02am Fri 30 May 14

HomerSimpsonDoh says...

Military families know this when they join up. Stupid comparison.
Military families know this when they join up. Stupid comparison. HomerSimpsonDoh
  • Score: 0

10:41am Fri 30 May 14

oufcboyce says...

HomerSimpsonDoh wrote:
Military families know this when they join up. Stupid comparison.
Exactly, ridiculous comparison, also If you bother to look at the figures you'll find unemployment levels in Birmingham are far higher Oxford, so the idea of great employment opportunities there is nonsense as well.
[quote][p][bold]HomerSimpsonDoh[/bold] wrote: Military families know this when they join up. Stupid comparison.[/p][/quote]Exactly, ridiculous comparison, also If you bother to look at the figures you'll find unemployment levels in Birmingham are far higher Oxford, so the idea of great employment opportunities there is nonsense as well. oufcboyce
  • Score: 1

3:16pm Fri 30 May 14

piper2011 says...

you have the wrong surname, sir.
you have the wrong surname, sir. piper2011
  • Score: -2

8:42pm Fri 30 May 14

riman09 says...

Unbelievable, considering how many other Oxfordshire towns lie between Oxford and Birmingham! Imagine the effects on this family of the media reported dire state of council and children's services in Birmingham.

Surely somebody in council has brains to realise what they are doing? Or is that asking for too much?
Unbelievable, considering how many other Oxfordshire towns lie between Oxford and Birmingham! Imagine the effects on this family of the media reported dire state of council and children's services in Birmingham. Surely somebody in council has brains to realise what they are doing? Or is that asking for too much? riman09
  • Score: -5

9:02pm Fri 30 May 14

Doctor69 says...

Be proactive and search for a property yourself! Plenty available for £850.....just might mean you have to move out of Central Oxford.

People want everything given to them on a plate. I wish someone would pay my bills for me!
Be proactive and search for a property yourself! Plenty available for £850.....just might mean you have to move out of Central Oxford. People want everything given to them on a plate. I wish someone would pay my bills for me! Doctor69
  • Score: 7

11:42pm Fri 30 May 14

boots17 says...

Good luck to anyone who can find an agent who takes housing benefit at LHA rate
Good luck to anyone who can find an agent who takes housing benefit at LHA rate boots17
  • Score: 0

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