Saturday, 28 February 2015

One million children in overcrowded homes

Charity Shelter is calling for action to tackle overcrowding as figures show more than 1 million children are living in cramped conditions.

Data from the Survey of English Housing shows the number of children in overcrowded accommodation has risen by 54,000 in the last two years.

The true scale of the problem could be worse, as the current definition of overcrowding dates from 1935, and does not include children aged under one. It also regards kitchens and living rooms as acceptable places to sleep.

Shelter chief executive Sam Younger said: ‘There is no doubt that overcrowding has a massive impact on children’s health, safety and future prospects and can cause depression for parents struggling to cope with cramped conditions.

‘With many children unable to study due to a lack of space, the impact of overcrowding is robbing them of an education and a fair chance in life.’

Readers' comments (23)

  • Overcrowding isn't robbing these children of a fair chance in life. Irresponsible parents who can't operate a condom machine are robbing these children of a fair chance in life.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I don't think that Ians comments are particularly helpful to the housing debate.Is he suggesting that an answer to the housing shortage problem is to limit the human right to a family to those on low incomes with limited housing options?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Joe Halewood certainly isnt a Papal Bull

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Hey Ian - great to see that bigots are alive and well - perhaps there should be a compulsory sterilisation of anyone earning below £24kpa. How about all those disabled types taking up the homes that others could use, and what about johnie foreigner.
    A large proportion of the Housing Corporation's targets of late have been unit based, ignoring the fact that the met targets hid the fact that family homes were not being provided. The high land values fed by boomenomics has made it not cost effective to build family units for social let.
    This is just another example of the error of treating housing as a commodity.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The interesting thing about the 1936 Act is that it is the occupier, i.e. the tenant, who can be prosecuted for allowing overcrowding to take place !!
    So,if are Shelter advocating using this piece of legislation then over 1 Million people will need to be prosecuted for causing statutory overcrowding !!
    On a more serious note you don't have to be a bigot to suggest that parents have some responsibility to consider their living arrangements when thinking of increasing the size of their family--people living in the owner occupied sector have to --if you can't afford a bigger house you either put up with overcrowding or decide not to have another child.
    It doesn't mean sterilisation it means all families taking some responsibility for their own actions and not always expecting "someone else" to sort their problems out for them

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • True Phoenix, but why are you assuming that all the overcrowded families live in the social housing sector. Indeed, because of the low availability of affordable homes families have purchased homes too small for their needs, or rent privately, again too small for their needs. Their needs have not always arisen after being housed, indeed often before. This is as much about poverty than anything else. Poverty removes choice and lack of choice causes hardship.
    It is easy for those with choices to bemoan the lack of responsibility of those without, I think its called ignorance.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Owen Hart

    Ian is spot on. The so-called "right" to breed an unlimited number of kids at the expense of the taxpayer must be ended. Child benefit should be capped at two kids in order to remove the perverse incentives that go with the breeding for benefits culture. Optimum Population Trust provide some interesting reading on UK overpopulation at

    See also "Report challenges “right” to have children" at


    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • There is goblal, worldwide overpopulation - which has to be tackled on a global scale... But as far as housing overcrowding is concerned, I cannot see any law or rule to restrict overcrowding in social housing properties would work. In fact if would make matters much worse both for the tenants involved and finanacially for the British public. What would you do then, takes away each baby from their families stepping their limit and give them to adoption? Cut their benefits and make them dies of starvation? Or evict and make them homeless?... Financially this would take billions and billions then to clear all the mess created - assuming it could be cleared.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Chris

    Ian - I apologise, compared to ILAG you are the most enlightened individual I've never met!

    I am so disheartened that there is belief in the 'breeding for benefits'. Such clap-trap ranks with the 'girls getting pregnant to get a council house' and other such divisionary rhetoric designed to deflect attention away from real social inequality issues; the sort so favoured by Sun readers.

    Maltheus predicted in the 18th Century that Britain would reach population saturation and be unable to sustain itself past 1825 when the population was expected to reach 14 Million. Maltheus argued for the building of ghetos within which the poor could be so crowded together as to ensure their numbers were controlled through disease. Maltheus saw the breeding poor as an unacceptable drain upon the moral ranks of society. Fortunately, revulsion against such inhumanity contributed to the extension of Poor Law Relief, and eventually to the welfare state as we understand it today.

    Sadly, when the National Front were growing in the 1970's, they quoted Maltheus to support their claims against immigration, but their use was only peddled as a soft expression of more serious extremism. Is this what is creeping into these pages now?

    ILAG, you are an individual but give your self a name of a group. Do your views truly represent those of the group? I pray that they do not.

    ILAG - when are you going to suggest to the Queen that she over-exercised Her 'right to breed'?

    Yes, potential population increase is as real an issue as global warming, but neither warrent the introducation of totaltarian measures as limiting the number of children permitted; or perhaps ILAG you are a supporter of Chinese Communism and not as you would otherwise seem at all.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Lots of couples growing up in the 1940's & 1950's had large families, the majority were overcrowded and they mostly grew to be decent folk. The difference then compared to now is that parents weren't given handouts all the time and parents knew how to work hard to provide for their families and discipline their children.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 per page | 20 per page | 50 per page

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

sign in register

Newsletter Sign-up



IH Subscription