Labour Councillors have called on Housing Minister Mark Prisk MP to ‘get tough’ with Westminster Council after Housing officers predicted that the number of Westminster families with children currently in Bed & Breakfast accommodation for more than 6 weeks will increase from the current number of 120 to over 150 over the coming weeks and months. In November 2012 Mr Prisk told Westminster North MP Karen Buck that placing families with children in B&B accommodation was “unacceptable and unlawful”. Overall, there are currently over 2,300 Westminster families in Temporary Accommodation.
Westminster Council Housing Officers have told Councillors in a recent ‘Homelessness Update’ Homelessness Update November and Dec 12;
“Whilst there will be fluctuations in the numbers of households with children in non self-contained bed and breakfast accommodation the trend will be for this to increase until additional supply of self-contained accommodation is available. Obtaining this figure is complex as it has to be calculated manually on a case by case basis due to different household and property circumstances. Thus numbers were close to 150 in November reduced to 120 before Christmas following largely the result of new TA stock being procured coming on stream and increasing use of ‘annexes’ (essentially using self-contained accommodation as an alternative to bed and breakfast.) However the numbers of acceptances each month means that there are families in bed and breakfast for less than 6 weeks who are crossing that threshold and this will drive further increases above 150.”
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said;
“It is time for Mr Prisk to get tough with Westminster Council. The situation is about to get worse and the Council continues to break the law, despite warnings from successive Housing Minister that the Council’s actions are “unacceptable and unlawful”. Keeping so many families with children in B&B for so long is an appalling state of affairs and is a measure of the severity of London’s housing crisis. The Government needs to get a grip of the situation and ensure that Westminster Council builds more homes for families in need, at a price they can afford”