Ealing rioters to lose benefits
Council leader Julian Bell, Labour, hopes the controversial punishment will send out a clear message that violence will not be tolerated.
He said: “We’ve got 11,000 people on our housing waiting list. If you’ve taken part in the riots and broken your tenancy agreement, the council will seek to evict you”.
Mr Bell went on to emphasise the importance of making an example of those involved in the rioting: “We need to give a very tough message. They don’t understand the seriousness of what they’ve been engaged in. Everyone thinks it’s a bit of a laugh, but it’s not a laugh, somebody’s been killed as a result of this”.
This move has been backed by Prime Minister David Cameron, but it remains unclear whether it is legal. Council tenancy agreements state that tenants must not commit any crimes in the ‘locality’ of the property. The council says decisions will be made on an individual basis, especially where children are involved, to determine who is eligible for this punishment.
Jean-Michel Jordan, project manager at charity SOVA (Supporting Others through Volunteer Action) based in Acton, works with youth offenders and slammed the plans as a ‘knee-jerk reaction’. He said: “The families will be struggling even more and the ones not struggling before, those young people will be interested in crime now. It will make young people more angry and perhaps even hungry for crime”.