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Social rents in Newham are the highest in the country, figures show

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 August 2015 | UPDATED: 07:54 12 August 2015

West Ham United FC Boleyn Ground, of Green Street, Upton Park.

West Ham United FC Boleyn Ground, of Green Street, Upton Park.

Archant

Figures showing the borough has the least affordable social housing in the country have prompted calls for action from campaigners and MP Stephen Timms.

Newham came top of 338 locations with an average rent of £128.89 a week, the Office for National Statistics data covering England and Wales revealed.

To add insult to injury, the borough was bottom when it came to pay in the capital, with average gross weekly salaries of £111.10.

The findings were met with scorn by housing protest group Focus E15 and prompted East Ham MP Mr Timms to call for more to be done

“We must find ways to build more homes, and homes for social rent in particular,” he said.

“Government policy has been to push up social rents – these figures highlight how difficult that is proving for many working families in Newham.”

Focus E15 said in a statement: “The figures once again don’t add up. The cost of living in London far outreaches the income of working-class Londoners, and this is never more evident than in Newham.

“The fact that huge housing blocks on the Carpenters Estate remain empty at the council’s request simply rubs salt into the wound. What can we do? Get organised and fight back.”

In response to the data, Newham mayor Sir Robin Wales said in a statement to the Recorder: “The high price of affordable housing throughout London is due to the Tory government and their ill thought through housing policies and callous approach to welfare reform.

“The overall reduction in social housing is due to their disastrous Right to Buy scheme which has seen thousands of social homes sold off on the cheap.

“In addition to this, the government has stopped subsidising the provision of new homes at lower rents which means local authority cannot replace the homes lost through Right to Buy at the same rate. Their welfare reforms have also made most of the capital unaffordable to those families on benefits.

“These figures released by the ONS do not offer a true reflection of social housing in Newham as they do not take into account the housing supplied by Newham Council which is at a far lower rent than most private registered providers.

“We are working to stem the housing crisis created by this government and provide our residents with the skills and opportunities to be able to live and work in Newham.

“Our Red Door Ventures scheme will create good quality housing that the hard-working residents of Newham deserve. Workplace our job brokerage scheme will provide further support with finding employment for those residents wanting to find work. Without support from government, there’s only so much we can do.”

Campaigners demanding more social housing in the borough have targeted the development of the Boleyn Ground by Galliard Homes.

Currently the development of the Hammers’ soon-to-be former home stadium will include no social housing – a revelation that prompted the founding of the Boleyn Development 100 protest group, which has called for 100 per cent social housing on the site.

Last month, the group published an open letter to Newham Council that called on councillors “to go on record that they oppose the plans of Galliard in their present state”.

Sir Robin Wales has publicly condemned the lack of affordable housing in the development, calling it “insulting” and a “ridiculous offer”.

He said: “We have been clear from the start of this process that the redevelopment of the Boleyn Ground must meet our vision of a thriving local area for business, maximise jobs and opportunities for local people and provide truly affordable homes for Newham residents. We will continue to work with the developers to ensure that this vision becomes a reality.”

A spokesman for Galliard Homes said plans for the future of the Boleyn Ground followed a year of work and consultation with the local community, businesses, councillors and West Ham fans.

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