Wandsworth Council is paying its tenants to move out of the “brighter borough” to go and rent privately in Birmingham.

Earlier this year the Wandsworth Guardian revealed the council was housing its homeless families as far away at Birmingham, Leicester and West Bromwich, because it was too expensive to house them in the borough.

Wandsworth Times:

West Midlands: Tenants are being offered thousands to make the move 

Now an “outrageous” letter from Wandsworth Council, to a tenant, shows the council offering to pay occupants up to £5,000 to ditch their homes and move into the private sector, almost 130miles away in Birmingham.

Will Martindale, Battersea’s parliamentary candidate for Labour, revealed the letter and said: “A woman knocked on my door last night after getting this letter. She told me it made her feel ‘not wanted’ in Battersea.

“It’s just wrong to pressure local families to leave Battersea and move to Birmingham. The real answer is to build more homes that local people can afford to rent and buy.

“This Tory council is out of control. First, they moved local homeless families to Leicester and Portsmouth. Now they offer some of our most vulnerable residents cash to move 100 miles away from their jobs, friends and schools.”

Wandsworth has decided to target 600 “under occupier” moves in the next three years.

According to the council’s own report this is “more than triple the number of moves when compared to the previous three years’ performance”.

The council’s housing service is going to employ more staff, referred to as “dedicated decant officers”, to encourage people to move.

Critics feared this would hit the most vulnerable hardest, in particular the elderly.

Earlier this year the council announced its radical housing strategy, which proposed moving elderly people to the seaside to free up council housing in the borough.

A spokesman for Wandsworth Council said: “This is a scheme that has been in place in Wandsworth for many years. Every other London borough has a similar policy.

“What it does is provide choices and incentives for tenants in larger properties to hand them back so that they can be used to provide new social rented homes for families on waiting lists who may be living in overcrowded conditions and need a bigger property.

"Offering a financial incentive is one of the ways in which tenants who don’t need such big homes can be encouraged to give them up.

“As the letter makes crystal clear, it is not compulsory and no one is forced to leave, but some residents are quite happy to move out of London because they may have family connections in other parts of the country or are looking to make a fresh start outside the capital.”