£1.8m to tackle 'beds in sheds'
The government has announced £1.8 million of funding to help councils tackle the problem of ‘beds in sheds’.
Money will be allocated to nine councils where there is a particular problem with people trapped in unsanitary or cramped living conditions.
Housing minister Grant Shapps announced the initiative on Friday and said the nine ‘worst affected’ councils will receive funding. These include seven councils in London; Brent, Ealing, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Newham, Redbridge and Southwark, as well as Peterborough and Slough outside the capital.
Unscrupulous landlords tend to rent out ‘beds in sheds’ to migrants, often in the country illegally, at extortionate rates. The tenants often find it difficult to return home having destroyed their passports to prevent removal and will put up with poor conditions, such as hazardous wiring or poor sanitation, a Communities and Local Government spokesperson said.
Mr Shapps said: ‘I’m determined to flush out criminal landlords who think they can make an easy buck from cramped, cockroach-ridden outhouses. The scandal of ‘beds in sheds’ must come to an end.
‘In the 21st century it simply isn’t acceptable that people should be forced to live in such squalid and unsanitary conditions. That’s why I’ve allocated £1.8 million to help councils in the worst affected areas crack down on this cruel exploitation.’
Mr Shapps said a taskforce to tackle the issue announced last month will see the police, councils, the United Kingdom Border Agency and HM Revenue and Customs pooling their resources.
He said: ‘I want anyone stuck in these suburban shanty towns to know that help is at hand and they will not be abandoned.’