SCORES of the poorest borough residents could be moved from the area under new housing proposals being considered by the council, it has emerged.
Just last week the authority insisted there would be no large-scale exodus of people from the area after the Chronicle revealed it was in talks with a housing provider to send at least 50 hard-up families to live in the Midlands.
But leaked papers have revealed the authority wants to fundamentally change the way social housing is issued, giving priority to 'wealth creators' who can prove they are in work and have had a local connection for over five years.
In the documents, the council warns people claiming to be homeless could be sent 'potentially outside the borough' and later confirmed in a statement it wants to end 'the previously assumed link between a homelessness application and a social housing tenancy'.
The authority says 70 per cent of social housing tenants are 'workless and dependent on benefits' and are 'not making a contribution that could drive economic growth'.
Opponents, who accuse the council of 'social cleansing', say the borough's housing waiting list, which currently stands at more than 10,000, will get bigger if projections from Charity Shelter that just six per cent of homes in the borough will be affordable by 2016 are accurate.
Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter accused the council of 'forcing out the poor'.
The plans would also scrap the mantra that a 'council house is for life' as the authority says it 'doesn't promote personal aspiration'. Instead new council tenants would be offered maximum five year agreements.
The council said the plans are a 'radical revolution' which would 'drive housing growth, tackle the social and economic divide in the borough and improve council housing services'.
It insisted it would continue to 'meet the housing needs of vulnerable adults, such as people with dependency issues and victims of domestic violence'.
Housing chief Andrew Johnson said: "These proposals are about rewarding hard working families who are local to the borough. At the same time we will continue to house elderly people and others who are vulnerable.
"We want to give people a hand up and not a hand out. We fundamentally believe that social housing should be platform of aspiration which enables progression into other forms of housing, such as low cost home ownership, rather than destination in its own right.
"While the current system of deciding who lives in social housing has successfully provided for the most vulnerable, it has also created disadvantaged communities by producing concentrations of people on benefits with disproportionately high levels of unemployment."
* The council will soon begin consulting on these changes. You can have your say by visiting www.citizenspace.com/lbhf The consultation commences on Tuesday, May 22.