Taxpayers are footing the £8,000-a-month bill for a family of former asylum-seekers from Somalia to live in a £2.1million luxury townhouse.
Published: 8:15AM BST 11 Jul 2010
Abdi and Sayruq Nur and their seven children are receiving housing benefit to cover the cost of renting their three-storey, five-bedroom property in the fashionable London district of Kensington.
Mr Nur, 42, an unemployed bus conductor, and his 40-year-old wife, who does not work, chose to move to the luxurious home because they didn’t like the “poorer” part of the city they were living in, according to The Mail on Sunday.
Their 1840s home is believed to be one of the most expensive houses ever paid for by housing benefit. It has two bathrooms, a fully fitted kitchen and a garden.
The revelation comes the month after the Government promised to tackle Britain’s £20billion-a-year housing benefit bill and bring the maximum claim for a four or five-bedroom home down to £400 a week.
Before moving to Kensington the Nurs lived in the Kensal Rise area of Brent in a five-bedroom property which cost £900 a week in housing benefit.
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.”
The couple’s youngest three children were born in Britain while their eldest four, aged 12 to 16, were born in Somalia.
Mr Nur worked for the Red Cross in the African country before the family fled the civil war and were granted asylum in Britain in 1999.
He lost his £6.50-an-hour job as a bus conductor 18 months ago but said he was now doing his best to get a new job.
The London borough of Kensington and Chelsea declined to comment on the Nur family’s claim.
A spokesman said: “We have been saying for some years now that the way in which the maximum level of housing benefit is calculated is flawed and we welcome the Government’s new changes which begin next year.
“The sums of money that many families claim for housing in the capital and elsewhere is an example of an unreasonably generous benefits system which is open to abuse.”