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Good evening. A year since the Government
introduced changes to housing benefit, figures obtained bx the BBC
suggest thousands in our region are going into rent arrears for the
first time, and few have actually moved. The policy reduces bdnefit
payments for social housing tenants if they have more rooms than they
need. Of 529,000 social housing tenants in this region, just under
10%, around 50,000 have been affected by the changes. And out of
that figure, around 1.5% have actually moved. Just 873 tenants.
I hope there is enough, bec`use I have so much stuff. Packing up and
preparing to leave. June and moved to this three`bedroom house after a
brain operation three years ago but her sons have since moved ott, and
now her Housing Benefit is being cut. She can't afford the extra ?52
a week. I understand that pdople need houses, but I am so mad that
they are making us all move. The idea is to free up your properties
to help people like Emma Bennett and her family. She was in a two bed
property with two children, and now has a three bed house. My children
are far happier. They have ` room each. I remember having to share a
room, and it is not fun, especially with a boy. I daughter is vdry
happy, and so is my son. So is it working? Research by the BBC
suggests that in the east, just 873 social tenants have moved ott or
downsized, yet it has pushed more than 11,000 into rent arrears for
the first time since last April That is despite almost ?5.5 million
being spent here to tide thdm over until they move out. That is why
critics call it the bedroom tax The Government says the old system was
subsidising spare rooms. If you are the tax payer, paying for pdople to
be on Housing Benefit, many of those cannot have spare bedrooms hn their
house, so how can they be p`ying for other people do have that? H think
about 20% of our tenants were not in arrears.
Some councils have evicted tenants for getting behind on their rent.
Nearly 200 have moved. We h`ve circuits of people moving, `nd they
have all been beneficial moves, so we haven't conjured up lots of extra
properties. We have a limitdd stock, and we make the best use of the
stocks that we have. The Government says the changes are saving money,
but Labour says it would scrap the policy, one that remains as
controversial as well it was introduced year ago.
Two people have been arrestdd in Luton on suspicion of human
trafficking. Officers went to a property in Farley Hill following a
tip`off from the public. Earlier I spoke to our reporter Stuart
Ratcliffe and asked him for the details.
Today, Bedfordshire police released information about a raid thdy
carried out yesterday in crossways, which is in the Farley Hill area of
Luton. They found two women in their late teens, and it is thought they
are handy Aryan, possible vhctims of trafficking scam. `` Hund ``
Hungarian women. Men have bden arrested and are now being
questioned. The serious criles investigation unit said that they
would urge anyone with any information about this type of crime
or anyone who has any concerns about someone they know all lives near to
them to contact the force so that they can take action.
Stuart Ratcliffe reporting there. A Northampton bar has been closed
down after police said it h`d been used as a money`laundering front by
a drug trafficking gang. Thd lease for the Ice Lounge on Bridgd Street
has been returned to the buhlding's owners. The council's licensing
committee heard the previous licensees included a drug ddaler now
serving a 20`year sentence. Game over. The nightclub business shut
down. After its true links to the criminal underworld were revealed.
On the face of it, the Icec`p looks like any other bar, btt it was
revealed that it was part of a drug trafficking and money`launddring
ring. A covert police operation revealed that the atmospherd inside
could be hostile and intimidating. Last month, the director, Joseph
O'Neill, was jailed for 20 xears for supplying cocaine. His right`hand
man was given ten years, and Michael Wilson, 7.5, for an operation
involving 150 traffickers. The money`laundering happened at the
bar. Instead of saying they took ?10,000, they took ?12,500, and they
would put ?2500 into the business android out. So what was dirty money
from the drugs money was now clean money because it went through
illegitimate business. Todax, the license was given over to the bar's
landlords on condition of strict texts on new tenants, and bdtter
CCTV coverage, after violence at the club went unrecorded. If yot are
going to have CCTV, we want to have it so that we can see the entire
premises and not have dark `reas where people can't be seen. The club
will stay closed until new management can be found.
The first clinic in Europe which can treat a rare form of cancer opened
at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge today. The new centre
treats PAWS`GIST ` a cancer which starts in the stomach and mostly
affects young women. Just 100 people a year are diagnosed with this
cancer. That's all from the late te`m. Let's
get the weather now with Aldx Dolan. Good evening. Tonight will stay dry
with some long clear spells. Tomorrow looks like a fine day, the
sunshine will be hazy at tiles, and lots of high`level cloud around but
the southeasterly wind will bring us milder air from the continent. In a
moment, the National forecast, and it stays warm for Sunday, btt by the
time we get to next week, lhttle unsettled with a chance of rain
showers, but still warm. forward on Saturday night. Now here
is Nick Miller with the national forecast.
Hello. The clocks go forward this weekend, marking the beginning of
British summertime, BST. It has nothing to do with the weather. As
the clocks changed last year we were coming out of the March freeze.
This year, though, as the clucks change, the weather is warming up.
Not clear blue sky, the sun will be hazy but the thunder storms will be
gone. It will be mainly dry. And the weather is lively out there
this evening. There are bands of rain with hail over western parts of
the UK. A bit of rain for parts of the north
of England and south-west of Scotland. And lots of hill fog into
the Pennines. Mist and fog in the central and eastern areas of
England. It is a slow