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article imageLondon mayor under fire after 'Kosovo social cleansing' remark

By Kev Hedges     Oct 28, 2010 in Politics
London - London mayor Boris Johnson has been criticised by Prime Minister David Cameron and those within the coalition government over remarks made regarding planned cuts to social housing benefits in London.
The mayor was speaking in response to the coalition government's plans to put a ceiling on the amount of social housing benefit any family can receive. The Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government are in the middle of announcing the heftiest austerity measures seen since the second world war.
One plan is to cap the amount of benefit for rent to just £250 for one bedroom properties, £340 for three bedroom properties and £400 for properties of four bedrooms or more , as reported in the BBC Politics.
Effectively this means a family of five in a three bedroom property in London, paying rent of £450, and claiming social housing benefit would have to find the £110 weekly excess rent themselves. Property prices in London are notoriously high and it is feared some 82,000 families will be forced out into cheaper suburbs outside London.
It was these concerns, that prompted Boris Johnson to say:
I'll emphatically resist any attempt to recreate a London where the rich and poor cannot live together. We will not see and we will not accept any kind of Kosovo-style social cleansing of London. On my watch, you are not going to see thousands of families evicted from the place where they have been living and have put down roots.
Downing Street have distanced themselves from Mr Johnson's comments. The mayor, like prime minister David Cameron, are both conservative party members. The most venomous criticism levelled at the mayor came, not unsurprisingly from Lib-Dem leader, Nick Clegg, who forms the other half of the coalition. Mr Clegg said he "very strongly disagreed" and accused Mr Johnson of, "inflammatory language on a difficult and sensitive issue".
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