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UK Riots: Westminster Council Could Evict Convicted Tenants

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Council house tenants in central London found guilty of rioting will be made homeless, Westminster City Council said on Wednesday.

The Council's cabinet member for Housing, Jonathan Glanz, told the Huffington Post: "We will do this if the process of conviction takes place, and it's clear that the individuals concerned have done this... We will certainly ensure that message is loud and clear throughout the properties we are responsible for."

He added: "It's something we've been talking about to see what we can do in response to this debate. To make people responsible for their individual actions.

"People have to understand that their actions do have consequences. Having social housing is a privilege, not a right. And having social housing in the centre of Britain's most vibrant city is a privilege."

The plans have been supported by housing minister Grant Shapps and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.

Clegg said on Thursday that benefit cuts for rioters were appropriate.

“I think it’s actually right to say if you go out and break the law and you destroy the community in which you live, why should you simply assume that you are going to continue to be supported in living in the way that you are in that community?”

But there are questions over both the practicality and legality of the move. Glanz admitted: "Clearly there are some legal hurdles we'd have to go through to do this. Most people with established tenancies in the social sector have long term tenancies."

A Westminster council spokeswoman said they would be under no obligation to re-house offenders because they would be classified as 'intentionally homeless'.

“That's something we're looking at at the moment. In the first step it's a warning. This is about the wider community - if you are going to go around and make it difficult to live in areas. It's sending a warning to people. However it is something we are certainly looking at.”

The council say the move could be repeated across London boroughs: “We are talking to a number of other London councils: Greenwich, Hammersmith and Fulham, Southwark", the spokeswoman added.

There is also a growing public call to remove rioters' benefits, with an e-petition gaining 90,000 signatures.

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