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UK Couple Reveals Council Accidentally Claimed Their Home Must Be Sold to House “Asylum Seekers”

Jack Hadfield

An elderly British couple has revealed that their local council sent them a letter advising them that their newly-purchased home was on a list to be forcibly purchased and given to asylum seekers.

Jose, 76, and Ted Saunders, 78, moved into their new home in November last year, but on January 12, they received a letter from North Northamptonshire Council claiming their home in Rushden, near Wellingborough, was empty.

“The Government has identified empty privately-owned properties as a potential cause of blight within communities, and as a wasted resource at time of high housing need,” the letter read. “As part of this process North Northamptonshire Council is identifying empty properties and sites within the area, with the aim of encouraging owners to bring premises back into use or to find alternative options for derelict sites.”

The letter noted that the council was “seeing a considerable increase in positive immigration decisions being made in favour of asylum seekers, mainly single men,” and that the ideal solution to the lack of housing was to “provide accommodation by using empty properties which would benefit owners and the project.”

If the owners refused, the council revealed that it could make a compulsory purchase order on the property, stripping it from them. Three days later, the couple were informed by the council that the letter was a mistake, but Jose said that she was left feeling “sick” after the ordeal.

“What on earth is the council doing forcing people to sell their houses – and even an empty house is owned by someone – so that asylum seekers can live in them?” Jose told the Daily Mail. “The answer to this is to stop them coming in the first place, not to force people out of their homes.”

Speaking in a video posted by deputy leader of the Reform Party and candidate in Wellingborough’s Thursday by-election, Ben Habib, Jose further asked why housing was always being provided “for the immigrants and not the indigenous population?”

“It is utterly shocking that the Council would fire off a letter like that to two elderly people. And do so with the aim of buying a £200,000 house for asylum seekers. This from a Council that is as good as bust and has never filed consolidated accounts since it was established in 2021,” Habib told the Daily Mail in a statement.

“The local charity for homeless people, the Daylight Centre, spends £650 per head per homeless person per year. Think what that charity could do with £200,000! It would be able to provide care for over 300 British citizens,” Habib argued. 

“There are also veterans’ charities in the constituency struggling to care of soldiers who risked life and limb for the country. Instead of the money going to them, the Council was prepared to blow it on housing maybe 4 migrants, after forcing out of their home two elderly British citizens. Disgraceful,” he concluded.

Jason Smithers, the leader of North Northamptonshire Council, said that they were “very sorry” for causing the couple “any undue distress and worry,” and claimed that the letter was down to the council holding outdated records about which properties were in fact empty.

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