Councl leader Julian Bell really is talking nonsense today in his quote on ealingtoday.co.uk about the beds in sheds issue. In response to the announcement that the government is giving Ealing another £270K on top of the £280K already received to tackle beds in sheds (not mentioned in latest press release) Bell says:
My fear is that the dire shortage of private sector housing, high rents and changes to benefits is likely to create a ‘perfect storm’ where more and more people will be pushed into unsuitable housing at the mercy of unscrupulous landlords.
From reading the council’s own reports, talking to the borough commander and seeing the BBC TV news coverage of this issue a major driver of the problem is young, Punjabi illegal immigrant men who want to work as day labourers for cash in hand. No sensible level of housing, rents or benefits is ever going to make it possible for these guys to live decently. Their employers really don’t want to spend that much. Their employers and landlords, often the same people, are simply out to exploit them and their illegal status. Bell’s “perfect storm” is nonsense.