Search

Gooshays’ councillor defends his ward in light of Havering benefits figures

08:01 24 February 2014

Gooshays ward Cllr Pat Murray

Gooshays ward Cllr Pat Murray

Archant

“Obviously, it is very fashionable these days to be on benefits,” said Councillor Pat Murray.

“We’ve got that TV programme Benefits Street. But in my ward, Gooshays, they’re in a situation where they have to be on benefits.”

Many of us have seen the controversial Channel 4 programme Benefits Street – and Cllr Murray is no exception.

However, he is adamant that Gooshays in Harold Hill, is nothing like Birmingham’s James Turner Street, which has one of Britain’s highest proportions of welfare-dependent residents.

According to new figures, obtained from Havering Council by the Recorder, Gooshays has more claimants of housing benefit and council tax reduction than any other ward in Havering.

“It does not surprise me,” said Cllr Murray, reacting to the figures. “When I look at these [figures], Gooshays is the most deprived ward.

“When the stats are released by the council, we are bottom all the time.

“We have a high proportion of children and parents, many of whom are working but on a low income.”

The figures show Gooshays has 1,941 claimants of housing benefit and 2,244 residents who claim council tax reduction.

Heaton has the second-highest number of claimants in both categories, with 1,634 on housing benefit and 1,930 residents claiming council tax reduction.

Cllr Murray was keen to point out that many Gooshays residents lived in “affluent” areas of the ward.

He said: “It is easy to jump to conclusions about these statistics. Gooshays is a deprived ward but quite a large proportion of residents live in nice properties. There are affluent areas in Gooshays.”

There was a warning, too, for anyone who was claiming benefits illegally.

“I do not support anyone who is claiming benefits that should not be – they are doing something which is against the law,” said Cllr Murray. “I do not want to put anyone in that category from Gooshays.”

He said the welfare system was there for a reason – to avoid “people ending up on the street with children in care,” adding: “People need to be aware of that.”

0 comments

Latest Romford News Stories

40-years-ago

A look back at the biggest local stories from this week 20, 40 and 60 years ago.

15 minutes ago
BBC One show presenter Angelica Bell with pupils from The Albany School.

A BBC One presenter and a team from a bank visited pupils to deliver a workshop aimed at promoting better financial awareness.

Yesterday, 10:00
HaveringMind volunteers about to set out to deliver posters and leaflets to local GP surgeries

As a report shows that one in three GP appointments are related to mental health, Chloe Farand finds out about how doctors can help refer patients to adequate services

Fri, 16:28
The Houses of Parliament, where long-standing Romford MP John Parker often raised issues affecting his constituents (and, unfortunately for him, was routinely ignored). Picture: Tim Ireland/PA

John Parker was a Labour MP for 48 years. Public school and Oxford educated, Parker was not a typical Labour man. But he spoke up for his constituents, raising local issues in House of Commons questions.

Fri, 14:02
Former dinner lady Carol Strange with kitchen staff at Havering Sixth Form College.

Fond farewells and a few tears were shed as a former dinner lady retired after working almost 40 years at a college.

Fri, 12:35
Rotational nurse Sally Barbrook, Nelft's rotational nurse lead Paul Chesnaye and rotational nurse Kate Channells at Goodmayes Hospital, Barley Lane, Goodmayes.

Nurses caring for people with mental health problems can now be trained in both mental and physical health simultaneously in a groundbreaking new scheme.

Fri, 11:57
Collier Row's 2015 Christmas event. Picture: Andrew Berwick

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, as Collier Row’s annual festivities return to dazzle residents.

Fri, 11:14
Elfie Shelfie getting up to all sorts of antics at the Mercury Mall

From creating popcorn sculptures to impersonating Santa and covering an entire shop in wrapping paper, a naughty elf will be making mischief at a shopping centre in the lead-up to Christmas.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Competitions

£3,000 goes a long way at Boots

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

Kit yourself out and go Apple mad!

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now