Poor people ‘too busy shopping’ to look for work, says Tory who wants to evict them

Paul Ellis, a Wandsworth Tory councillor, has said that unemployed people on estates are too busy shopping to look for work.

Councillor Ellis described one council estate he visited as “like the Oxford Street sales”. “There were so many people in their twenties, thirties and forties, clearly able-bodied, who were popping out to the shops.”

As cabinet member responsible for Housing, he has also put in place plans where new council tenants in the borough could lose their homes unless they find jobs.

This scheme was launched as the government announced 2.6 million people were unemployed, the worst figure for 17 years.

Councillor Ellis is also the cause of last week’s Sunday Times article: Council to evict ‘Jeremy Kyle generation’ who refuse to look for work.

From the little I know of him, Councillor Ellis is usually an intelligent person – it is bizarre that he has chosen to insult so many residents and play the political tough guy just to get his name in the papers.

The usually neutral Wandsworth Guardian calls Councillor Ellis “crass” and “absurd” in this week’s paper.

Local people have written to me about Councillor Ellis’s comments:

  • “It’s not enough that unemployed people don’t have a job, but now they are punishing them for that! Where are the jobs?”
  • “They should be lucky that anyone has a penny left in their pocket to do any shopping, otherwise the economy would definitely go bust.”
  • “Your interest in the matter of housing in the borough is quite right.  The attitudes of the conservatives become more shameful by the week.  We should all sign a petition online in order to make our presence felt.”
  • “How can they put all of jobless people in the same bag and do stereotype! They clearly are disconnected to the real world. By being involved in my community, I know lot of single parents that actually want to get out of the benefit system if there could be more jobs fitting around their child schedules or affordable childcare but the reality is not the case. For my part, I have been continuously working for 10 years in UK before I had my child.”
  • “For three years, I was a single mother, a volunteer and a student and doing all three properly takes time and lot of work. Not much time and money to shop really! Funny idea from this councillor, he clearly has no idea about our life!”
  • “Where would the people go? What about their children? Is it going to cost more to rehouse evicted families? If they don’t save money, why are they doing this?”
  • “I am truly shocked with the way he described people living in Estates as it might be true for a small percentage but clearly not the norm.”

The issue has attracted lots of media attention. Links below:

Englishman’s council house may not always be his home
Irish Times
LONDON LETTER: WANDSWORTH COUNCIL in London, with the lowest council tax in the United Kingdom, is often seen as a triumph of Conservative values, but never more so than with its current plans to reform housing rules. Last night, a council committee …

Council Plans to Evict Tenants Who Refuse to Work
LBC 97.3
Wandsworth Council is planning to evict people on benefits from their council homes if they refuse to look for work. All new housing applicants would be given fixed-term tenancies with new homes only provided to those who are in work or agree to find a …

Jobless ‘may lose council homes’
BBC News
Unemployed people in west London have been warned they could lose their council homes unless they find jobs. Wandsworth Council is considering a policy that would mean people only got council homes if they are working. If they failed to stick to their …

Wandsworth announces radical shake-up of Council housing policy …
Cllr Paul Ellis, the Cabinet Member for Housing on Wandsworth Council, says those who can’t be bothered to make the effort to get jobs should be penalised …

Council intent on evicting jobless tenants – Outside Left
Wandsworth Council is expected this week to approve the changes to the conditions of housing tenure, under which fixed-term tenancies will be introduced to …

Wandsworth’s housing chief defends Caroline Flint-style ‘job contracts’
24dash (press release)
Wandsworth Council’s cabinet member for housing says plans to sign new tenants up to ‘work contracts’ will not see it evict unemployed council tenants. The council provoked a media storm this week when it announced over the weekend that new tenants …

Tory councils attack jobless
Wandsworth council in south London plans to make unemployed people prove they are seeking work in order to qualify for council housing. This follows Southend council in Essex putting aside 20 percent of council housing for those with jobs. …

Wandsworth called on to clarify eviction threat for jobless tenants
24dash (press release)
Labour councillors have refused to vote on what they claim are “unclear proposals” by Wandsworth Council that would see new council tenants who ‘fail to improve their employment prospects’ evicted from their home. Last weekend, Wandsworth Council …

Evicted if you work, evicted if you don’t
Though Cowards Flinch
Tory-run Wandsworth Council is proposing to evict people who don’t get a job. The council says: If the policy is adopted, people would be given a council home on the condition that they find work or enrol on a training course. …

Wandsworth Council’s housing policy lacks clarity
Labour Councillors abstained from voting on Wandsworth Council’s new housing policy which aim to ‘encourage’ new council tenants to find work or improve …


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