Labour Councillors have called for an enquiry into why Westminster Council is paying up to three times more than the going rate for West End hotel rooms, as part of the Council’s £85,000 weekly bill to house families following the introduction of Housing Benefit caps.
According to a Metro investigation http://metro.co.uk/2013/02/18/westminster-council-spending-85000-on-hotels-for-families-forced-out-by-benefits-cap-3481743/
“The council is paying £1,540 a week to the three-star Royal Eagle Hotel in Bayswater for family rooms despite its £581-a-week charge for doubles.
It is paying £1,015 to Quality Hotel Wembley to house a family in a single room. The hotel said the largest family room is £519 a week for the public while its double rooms go for £65 a night.
And Westminster is paying £1,277 a week for a family room at the Ambassador’s Hotel in Kensington. A double is £392.”
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, has written to Mike More, Chief Executive, and Barbara Moorhouse, Chief Operating Officer at the Council, to ask;
“How on earth can the Council justify paying these inflated prices, two and three times the normal rate?
Why is the Council getting such a bad deal? Are these hotels profiteering at the Council’s expense? Or are we using the services of a ‘middleman’ who is raking in a huge commission, again at the Council’s expense?
Surely the Council should be getting a massive discount for block booking hotel rooms and guaranteeing hotel occupancy for a long period. Instead the Council appears to be paying a massive premium! Please can I have an answer today.”