….. And Council engages in ‘cover up’ to keep hotel addresses secret
Westminster Council is using a ‘loophole’ in the law to house over 70 families with children in unsuitable hotel ‘annexes’ for more than 6 weeks, despite the Council’s claims that there are no families with children living in Bed and Breakfast accommodation for more than 6 weeks, and has refused to give Councillors the details of where the hotel annexes are located.
Labour Councillors say that the Council is able to use a ‘loophole’ in the law and to continue to house families in hotels because the hotel ‘annexes’ have bedrooms with their own front door and are therefore classified as ‘self-contained’. The reality is that the bedrooms, which are nightly booked, are just bedrooms with a bathroom and a gas ring to cook on and totally unsuitable for housing families for the long term.
Labour Councillors have been asking the Council for the addresses of these hotel ‘annexes’ for months but the Council has refused to disclose the information depite Freedom of Information Act requests.
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg. Leader of the Labour Group, said;
“Westminster Conservatives have never stooped so low as to use a legal loophole to allow them to put families with children in unsuitable hotel accommodation for months and longer. The Conservatives know that this is the most cruel and nasty action that they could have taken and that is why they are trying to cover up where these annexes are located. ”
“We believe that many of these hotel ‘annexes’ are outside or at the edge of London but many families continue to take their children to school in Westminster and face long and exhausting journeys. They can make no plans as the Council says that it has discharged its duty towards them by housing them in self-contained accommodation and they have no redress when they are left to languish in totally unsuitable accommodation for months and longer. ”
“It is time for the new Housing Minister to step and tell Westminster to act with humanity and decency rather than using a loophole in the law to dump over 70 families with children in unsuitable hotel bedrooms”