The Leaving Of London

There has been a lot of discussion on Twitter and elsewhere in recent days of a video discovered on YouTube that advises Londoners to leave the Great Wen for other cities and areas under the ‘Out of London‘ scheme. The video itself focused on a man who had used the programme to move to Swansea. So view the film first and then I shall look at a few of the issues raised by this and other recent cases that have come to my attention.

Update 19:20: Credit where it’s due. I now learn that the video was discovered by the Welsh National Rights Movement and brought to the attention of a wider audience following the launch meeting of the Swansea-Llanelli branch in Gorseinon on Saturday afternoon.

The first thing to notice is I suppose that this man almost certainly does not work. If you think about it, few people are going to give up a job in London to move to Swansea or anywhere else. Which means that this scheme is aimed at the unemployed (and the unemployable), the long-term sick and disabled, and other ‘non-productive’ elements of society. Amongst these will be many criminals and other undesirables. Just as well that the video was presented by a pleasant young lady of mixed race, rather than a white man, or else more people might see this project for what it is – social engineering.

That being so, where is the benefit to Wales in encouraging people like this to move here? Obviously they will not be contributing anything in taxes, their spending power will be limited, they will become a burden on an NHS service that in Wales is already close to complete collapse. Accepting people like this is therefore insane. Though note that the man used as the example in the video seems acceptable enough . . . but of course those who made the video wouldn’t show a problem family, or an ex-con.

The problem here, I suspect, is that the London boroughs involved in this project are linked with housing associations in Wales. Swansea has more than its fair share of growth-obsessed housing bodies run by greedy and irresponsible people with no regard for the communities in which they are based. I am in no doubt that these housing associations get paid a nice bonus for taking in Londoners – and others – who, due to the problems I’ve just mentioned, then become a liability for someone else. Basically, Wales.

At its worst, this social engineering project, this population transfer, can result in the kinds of tragedy I highlighted in my recent post, Neighbours From Hell.

You will note that the video also says that moves can be arranged through private landlords. This is important in areas where there may be responsible social housing providers or a lack of social housing provision. Something brought home to me a week or so ago in a post on Oggy Bloggy Ogwr. This particular post dealt with demographic and other changes observable in Bridgend county from the 2011 Census findings.

Nantymoel is a former mining community in the north of the county, and one of the poorest wards. Yet the 2011 Census showed a sharp rise in the percentages of both the English-born and English-identifying elements of Nantymoel’s population. Clearly, there has been an influx of English people . . . into an area with little work. Also, with very few social housing units. But cheap house prices. Other figures, such as the higher than average percentage of households with dependent children and lone parent households, suggest that the ward has seen an influx of a mostly young population from outside of Wales into private rented accommodation. Property that may even have been bought by London boroughs or English social housing providers.

While we can see the advantages in this scheme for London and other parts of England, let’s not blind ourselves to the reality that too many Welsh politicians, at both local and national level, will also support this kind of influx. For a falling population is always interpreted as a sign of political failure – as we have recently seen in Detroit – so anything that can keep up the numbers in places such as Nantymoel will be welcomed.

Something else that struck me in the video was the section showing the collaborating areas outside of Out of LondonLondon. These are listed on the right of the ‘still’ I grabbed. (Click to enlarge.) While English counties, towns andOut of London 2 cities are listed individually, for us there is just ‘Wales’. Yet the leaflet ‘Out of London’ shows Swansea and Cardiff. (Click to enlarge.) So what is the real picture; is it just our two major cities or does the scheme operate across Wales? Note also that the leaflet suggests the areas to which Londoners are being moved have a surplus of social housing. I don’t know the situation in Cardiff but there’s certainly no surplus in Swansea. If there was, why are Coastal Housing, Grwp Gwalia and the rest throwing up new properties everywhere? Or is this specifically to meet demand from London and other parts of England?

Finally – and I’m sure you’ve noticed! – this scheme for London boroughs to get shot of what they consider to be the undesirable and economically unviable does not extend to Scotland. Why? Is it due to legislation in Scotland that insists on housing providers meeting local need, not engaging in schemes profitable for them but adding an extra burden on services already buckling under the strain? If so, then we need such legislation in Wales.

P.S. This post is in a sense an update on a post from last November, The London Clearances. There I linked to a story in the Guardian, which specifically mentioned Merthyr Tydfil as one of the places where “London councils have acquired rental properties”. Note also that while last November’s Guardian story dealt with ‘homeless families’, the more recent video appeals to anyone “registered for social housing in any London borough”. That’s the new capped welfare legislation kicking in.

Regrettably there are no comments with this earlier post. This is due to Google Blogger killing my previous blog, and although I was able to salvage the posts themselves they came without the comments. That’s Google for you.

20 thoughts on “The Leaving Of London

  1. Greta

    @anonentity
    What on Earth makes you think that the Out of London scheme is the work of ‘do-gooders’?

    A divorced man, with apparently no dependants living with him, gets to rent what looks like a house that has 3 bedrooms. Seems odd to me.

    1. Jac

      At first sight it does seem odd . . . until you remember that the purpose of this video is to get people in London to move out. So a nice garden, friendly neighbours, talk of mountains and coast, will do the job better than showing somebody stuck on a sink estate in Manchester or Newcastle. But the real problem could be that it encourages lots of the buggers to move to Swansea.

  2. Keith Parry

    On Radio Five tonight they mentioned the Lodon Borough of Brent. The English Government are paying for advertising vans to go about Brent with the Slogan “Illegal Immigrants go home before you are arrested!”
    They also said that only 38% of the population are white English, the rest described as born outside the United Kingdom.
    The transfer policy of sending white ancient Hells Angels to Swansea seems even more bizare. Is it government policy to pay for white flight?

    1. Jac

      The UK government is paying – indirectly – for countless different routes by which England’s undesirable and unwanted turn up in Wales. Even so, it still couldn’t be done without co-operation from organisations based in Wales or a refusal to intervene on the part of ‘Welsh’ politicians.

      Like so much else we have to put up with, THEY DO IT BECAUSE THEY KNOW THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH IT!

    2. Greta

      The English government isn’t paying for the mobile billboards. Taxpayers are footing the bill for a Conservative Party attempt to draw voters away from UKIP.
      Next week, I expect the slogan to be: Illegal Thieves. Give yourselves up or the Quiet Batpeople will get you.

  3. I commented on the video over the weekend. All comments on there are moderated before being published.

    Back to the video, the area he’s in looks like Clase, one of the poorer areas of Swansea. As he says it’s right next to the mountains and you can almost see the coast from where he is, another mile or so down Llangyfelach road and you can.

    This moves out of London scheme is designed to move the less economically viable people out of London and on to poorer areas of the UK in order to make more room for “wealth creators”. That’s their words, not mine.

    Over the weekend I emailed this video to every AM in the Senedd. So far I have had a reply from just one, Simon Thomas. His brief reply stated “Thank you. I know that this has already gone to my party’s housing spokesperson”.

    FB/Hawliau

    1. Jac

      Swansea council has also received a number of enquiries about the video. Their response seems to be, ‘Yes, we were co-operating in the LAWN / Out of London scheme, but we stopped in 2007. Which may or may not be true, because this project was privatised about that time, and given a different name.

      From further enquiries I discovered that moving social housing tenants is an industry within an industry. Another angle is to help social housing tenants in London take on a private let somewhere else for 12 months. In the literature I’ve read it mentions financial help and co-operating with Buy to Let landlords. The beauty of this scheme is that after 12 months they qualify as ‘local’ and can demand social housing. Another ruse is – and I shall double-check this – that if you’re a social housing tenant then this status takes you to the top of the waiting list anywhere else.

      Finally, with the benefit caps and the ‘spare room’ legislation now kicking in, there will be quite an exodus from London of the “less economically viable”. I’m working on another post that should be ready by Friday.

  4. Stephen

    My brother who lives in nearby Gorseinon rang me a couple of weeks ago to say he was coming to watch the Wales Air Show in Swansea. As I live opposite the venue with a grandstand view he was going to call on me and bring a new young friend of his who had recently moved to Gorseinon from London. I quizzed my brother as to why this family had moved to Gorseinon ( just outside Swansea), such as family connections, moving with the job??? There was no job, no family connections and it was a father and son only and they had got a housing association property . The parents had divorced years before and the mother had moved to Swansea from London. So, I asked was she Welsh then and were they moving so that the son could be closer to his mother??? The answer was no on both accounts. From further questions my brother disclosed that both parents had drug problems and criminal records and a history of life on benefits, but the son was Ok a really nice chap. Four nights ago I was just about to go to bed, it was a balmy evening and my windows were open. I could here some drunken voices outside and as I looked out of my window I saw a youth jumping onto the bonnet of my car and then the roof. I yelled some choice words and the culprit ran off. The other youth was staggering drunk so I telephoned the police, ran outside and restrained the second youth. I kept him talking for some time in anticipation that the police would arrive. The drunken youth was 16 years of age and recently moved from London with his parents and disabled siter and was living in one of the council flats in Dyfatty, Swansea. I soon got his life story and not only had he been in trouble with the police before but both his parents too with drugs records. His mother had just recently done a “runner” as the “Social” were onto her. There was no apparent damage to my car and I let the yobo go. In my conversation with my brother 2 weeks previously I had said to him that Wales had become a dumping ground for London`s undesirables. I mentioned to him the case of those families that somehow managed to get Housing Association properties in the same street in the small town in Kidwelly and carried on their sickly satanic sex cult. I think my brother probably thought that I was a bit over the top. When I see him I will relate the recent incident involving my car and show him the video in your post. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    1. Jac

      We all know it goes on, but housing associations will lie and deny they’re doing it. Because they aren’t covered by the Freedom of Information law there’s no way of really checking. I’m sure they get a bonus of some kind for taking on ‘problem’ tenants. They get the bung and everybody else picks up the tab. It’s time the ‘Welsh’ Government did some joined-up thinking and worked out the total cost to other services, and the public at large, from the greed and irresponsibility of certain housing associations.

      As for Dyfatty flats, I’m sure the council or whoever owns them now would argue that they couldn’t get anyone else to live there. Probably true. The reason being that they’ve been turned into a dumping ground for drug addicts, local and imported. How many have died there over the years, murdered, from overdoses, or falling from balconies?

  5. Llew

    These schemes are horrendous. “Cleansing” London to make the city appear more flashy and dynamic. The schemes aren’t however the work of “do gooders” primarily or of politically correct socialists. It sounds like a horrible privatised scheme with some dodgy companies making money to shuffle people around the UK, to make London “nicer”.

    Identifying ways of stopping Welsh collaboration with these schemes, especially at the council level, would be a step forward. Especially practical ways. Doing it on a right-wing basis or bashing the people being moved around (drug users, the homeless etc) is the wrong way to go though, and will get no traction. Certainly not from the likes of Simon Thomas who is from the Valleys and probably knows people who have been unfortunate enough to slip into drugs or crime. The better way to go about things is to go after the decision-makers and private companies involved.

    1. Jac

      A few things wrong with your comment.

      You arguing that we mustn’t be too critical of those being moved to Wales goes a long way to explaining why it’s happening – because the Welsh Left feels these people should be helped, no matter what the cost to Wales.

      As for Simon Thomas, I have never sought, nor expected, “traction” from that quarter, it’s a matter of complete indifference to me what Simon Thomas thinks. And that goes for almost everyone else in Plaid Cymru.

      “The better way to go about things is to go after the decision-makers and private companies involved” . . . in London, Singapore, Berlin, New York! Are you serious! What is the point of devolution if we can’t raise domestic issues in the hope of persuading our ‘Welsh’ Government to tackle problems in Wales? The mechanisms at work in London become irrelevant if we have the power and the will in Wales not to be taken advantage of.

      Your comment illustrates perfectly the damage socialism does to Wales in wanting Wales to solve England’s problems.

  6. daffy2012

    Much talk has been made recently that the UK needs to be rebalanced in terms of prosperity so this seems to be going against this kind of talk. But I’m just concerned that the Labour government in Cardiff is so bereft of ideas that their main economic policy is a massive house building programme for those from elsewhere. I’m supposing now that the building of social housing will be done to cater for these people who have been cleansed from London? Unfortunately, at the other end of the spectrum, you will have Tories like David Jones (Welsh Sec) who view Wales as subordinated to London and somewhere where the best brains may be plucked from and where the ‘unproductive’ such as the unemployed and retired and low wage earners may be located. This suites both left and right wing unionists. Lets hope that Plaid can step up to the plate…..although I certainly won’t be holding my breath.

    1. Jac

      I have oft railed against the ‘Cardiff City State’ but, historically, Britain could be viewed as the London City State. For those ‘Welsh’ whose country is, in reality, Englandandwales it is an immutable Law of Nature, Economics and even God Almighty that the brightest and most ambitious Welsh should always gravitate to England, while those remaining should be hewers of wood and drawers of water.

  7. Louise Hughes

    As a County Councillor in Gwynedd I am increasingly frustrated by the inability/refusal of the housing points system to take into consideration the plight of local people, particularly younger people, in their efforts to obtain social housing. As councillors we are constantly told ‘think local, think Welsh’ but try to apply this to the housing problem and the goal posts move pretty sharpish. The rural areas of Meirionnydd are rapidly becoming areas of real deprivation for indigenous people, fuelled mainly by a lack of meaningful employment. South Gwynedd has the lowest average wage in the whole of the British Isles which, coupled with exhorbitant house prices, has made buying a house in your village/area far beyond the financial means of most local people – yet we continue to talk about ‘affordable housing’ in committee; as far as I’m concerned, there IS no such thing! Young Welsh speaking people are moving away to find decent employment prospects, and who can blame them, which further diminishes our communities. Here in Gwynedd there simply are not enough ‘council’ houses to meet demand and relocating people from other parts of mainland England merely exacerbates the problem. Local people who have been on the Housing List for years find themselves relegated to the bottom time and time again in favour of people from ‘away’ which causes immense tensions in small communities. Gwynedd Council saw fit to sell off the housing stock to a non-profit making housing association, so what little influence I might have had as a local County Councillor has been reduced to very little or none at all.
    I agree with you Jac that, so far, devolution has not done us any favours at all up here in the forgotten wastelands of Wales. The Welsh Assembly promised to ‘disseminate the wealth across Wales’ as part of their inauguration pledge – well, it’s now 13 years old and we’re still waiting.
    I realise that by posting a comment on your article I am setting myself up for vilification, but I would like to point out that not all politicians are from the same mould. And, for clarification, I live in an ex-Council house (which belongs to my husband’s employer), my husband is a shepherd and I’m just a ‘gobby’ housewife who managed to get elected because I am principled, honest and outspoken. Now serving my second term as a Councillor I am beginning to realise that, perhaps, those same traits leave me open to mockery but, hey – SOMEONE’S got to do it!

    1. Jac

      Devolution has been a disaster for just about every part of Wales other than Cardiff.

      Social housing provision is a business and a racket. If a housing association gets paid a bonus for taking somebody from ‘away’ (as they do with ‘problem’ tenants) then law-abiding and hard-working locals will always lose out.

      Last year my grand-daughter was being picked on in school by some boy, so I made enquiries. The family to which the little darling belonged were from the English Midlands, had moved into a caravan, which of course qualified as ‘inadequate’, so the family was housed in Tywyn by Tai Clwyd. And this goes on, every day, all over Wales.

      Here are two reasons why this happens. First, because the ‘Welsh’ Government – or its civil servants – refuse to introduce legislation curbing the abuses that work against local people. Second, too many of those working for housing associations think they’re on a crusade, and believe that housing a scumbag family with no local connections is striking a blow against a callous capitalist system. Or similar bollocks.

      “Here in Gwynedd there simply are not enough ‘council’ houses to meet demand and relocating people from other parts of mainland England merely exacerbates the problem.” Mmmm. If you were writing that bit again, do you think you’d phrase it differently, Louise?

  8. will

    for the past year or so i have become very aware in our town of pontypridd which is a close knit valley market town of lots of different accents in the area and a noticeable increase in families living here that seem to have no jobs but are housed locally. i have been suspicious of them moving families from london and other deprived areas of england to wales for quite a while now but after reading these revealing posts on this forum i now know why this is being done, all for the benefit of london and england and with no consideration of wales whatsoever.it is not right that these people should be dumped on wales ,we are a poor country under a lot of stress and we do not need any more. things are difficult here now and its about time the welsh government forgot about toeing the party line and put wales and the welsh people first.
    will.

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