Time to evict anti-social families in Norwich, says city MP

A Norwich MP has called for anti-social council house tenants to be stripped of their benefits - and even their homes.

As a council tenant whose son appeared in court in connection with the riots in London was served with an eviction notice by her local council, Chloe Smith, Norwich North MP, said it was time for the city council to get tough too.

She said: 'If you commit serious anti-social behaviour, you should face penalties. In particular, tenants who abuse the community they live in, or let their children do so, should know they run the risk of losing their home.'

Communities secretary Eric Pickles and housing minister Grant Shapps had both backed calls to evict tenants involved in the riots from social housing.

The eviction notice served by Wandsworth Council on Friday afternoon is believed to be the first in the country served on a council tenant over the rioting and looting which blighted the nation this week.

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But Miss Smith said: 'This is not just about rioting in big cities, it's something people want in Norwich too. People regularly come to me to say that individuals near them are making other people's lives a misery, yet appear to get to keep all the things the tax-payer gives them with no penalty.

'People think it is simply taking the mickey and it finally has to stop.'

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The Conservative MP added: 'I would like the city council in particular, but also the local housing associations to toughen up on anti-social behaviour where it hurts other tenants. If new laws are needed, let's look into it now.

'I also want to see all the new tougher benefit rules be applied like a ton of bricks where people are not being fair to others in society.'

But Brenda Arthur, leader of Norwich City Council, said: 'Having this kind of knee jerk reaction is rather foolish. We didn't have riots in Norwich and most of the people living in social housing in Norwich will have been appalled at the riots which have been going on.' She added the council already had the power to evict tenants who break the terms of their tenancy agreement and the authority does come down hard on those who do.

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