Jul 10 2010
An UNEMPLOYED family of former asylum-seekers from Somalia are living in a $3.2 million luxury townhouse in one of Britain’s most exclusive addresses at a cost to taxpayers of $12,000 a month because they didn’t like the ‘poorer’ part of the city they were living in.
They live close to celebrities, including artist Lucian Freud, singer Damon Albarn and designer Stella McCartney, and their home is just minutes from the fashionable Kensington Place restaurant which was a favourite haunt of the late Princess Diana.
The family’s new home is believed to be one of the most expensive houses ever paid for by housing benefit, which is administered by local councils but funded by the Department for Work and Pensions. The disclosure that a single family has been paid so much will embarrass Ministers, who last month pledged to rein in Britain’s £20billion-a-year housing benefit bill.
Mr Nur said his former five-bedroom home in the Kensal Rise area of Brent, which cost £900 a week in housing benefit, was suitable for the family’s needs but he said they had felt compelled to move because they did not like living ‘in a very poor area’ and were unhappy with the quality of local shops and schools.
He said he found the new house through a friend who knew the landlord, arranged to rent it through an estate agent, then approached officials at Kensington and Chelsea council who said ‘it would be no problem’ to move. Rules allow anyone who is eligible for housing benefit to claim for a private property in any part of the country they wish.
Mr Nur said: ‘The new house is good enough and it is near the school and the shops. We need a house this big because we have so many children.‘The old house was good but the area was not so good. It was a very poor area and there were no buses, no shops and the schools were too far.
‘The old house was four or five bus stops away from the primary school attended by two of my children. ‘Soon, all three of our younger children are going to be at primary school and we can’t take them all on the bus. Now they are going to a school which is just down the road.’ UK DAILY MAIL