Monday, 02 March 2015

Quarter of London children in overcrowded homes

One in four children are growing up in overcrowded housing in London, according to a network of voluntary and statutory organisations tackling child poverty in the capital.

In a report released today, the 4in10 End Child Poverty London Project said there has been an 18 per cent rise in the past three years of children in the capital growing up in cramped conditions.

More than 70,000 children are living in overcrowded conditions with many sharing beds with their siblings or sleeping on the floor, the report states.

Children from a project at the Stowe centre in Westminster have launched a campaign today to ask London mayor Boris Johnson to halve the number of children growing up in overcrowded housing.

Ade Sofola, strategic manager at 4in10, said: ‘Overcrowding is a serious issue and it shouldn’t happen in a wealthy city like London.

‘Growing up in cramped conditions means children are sleeping on floors or sharing beds; badly affecting their health, well-being and chances of doing well in school.

‘For too long, social housing policy has failed the poorest families. Mr Johnson needs a far more focused and ambitious strategy to urgently halve the number of overcrowded children by 2020.’

Mr Johnson pledged to halve severely overcrowded social homes in London by 2016 in his housing strategy in 2009.

But 4in10 said with 120,000 overcrowded households in social housing in London ‘the target is considered by many as far too little’.

The report states: ‘It makes it difficult to find a quiet space to study and infectious diseases spread more readily in overcrowded conditions.’

4in10 is calling for the mayor to commit to halving the number of children growing up in overcrowded housing without access to adequate space to sleep, learn and play by 2020.

Figures for the report were from charitable foundation Trust for London and the Communities and Local Government department.

4in10 members include the National Housing Federation and homelessness charity Shelter.

Readers' comments (36)

  • We need a bedroom tax to encourage people to downsize err actually there is one and it comes in on the 1st April 2012!!!

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  • *people with spare bedrooms to downsize

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  • Joe Halewood

    P Righteuusness - so do I gather you are advocating more HB be paid to those that are overcrowding to square the circle with this thought then?

    If people receive HB according to family composition then surely that goes whether they under or over occupy a property?

    That isnt a flippant argument though I suspect you will not agree to it even though it is the same argument. Interestign though how it is claimed about on in six underoccupy and are villainised by this government for being parassitic; yet one in four - a much higher figure - are overcrowded which shows that the whole idea of making better use of stock would increase the overall HB bill if everyone was paid according to family composition which is the governments position.

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  • Melvin Bone

    A friend of mine shared a room with his 2 elder brothers until he left home. His sisters also shared. So 7 people in a 3 bed home.

    A busy home but was it 'overcrowed'?

    One flaw seems to be people popping sprogs out who don't have enough room with the kids they have already...

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  • so who suffers...parents or kids?
    And do kids growing up in abject poverty learn the lesson that they wont receive benefit if they keep having more children when they are adult??? Do their thought processes go that far....what is more likely to happen?
    Or increase the chances of children stealing/selling sex to survive or get the things that they see everyone else having around them at school, on tv, in the papers?? Or will they get pregnant to get away from home?

    Or maybe they will realise that they have a duty to live within their means and only reproduce responsibly because they learnt a very salutary lesson growing up??
    Hmmmmm.....rocket science?

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  • 'More than 70,000 children are living in overcrowded conditions with many sharing beds with their siblings or sleeping on the floor'

    touch of the hyperbole there I think. Sharing beds and sharing rooms are not the same thing

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  • Its interesting to recall the Public Health Act--is it 1936 ?--that originally defined " Overcrowding " and gave us the concept of " Permitted numbers " of people per " Habitable room "--and in that legislation there were penalties for allowing premises to become overcrowded --but the penalties weren't imposed on the landlord--it was the tenants responsibility to ensure statutory overcrowding did not occur !!

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  • Joe Halewood

    The key point I was attempting to make is that if 16% of social housing is underoccupied but 25% is oiveroccupied or overcrowded then if the coalition's policy of the bedroom tax which pays HB according to family size could be solved by 'making better use of stock' then the overall HB bill would increase.

    One in 6 would lose HB yet one in 4 would get additional HB in simple terms (and assuming the 1 in 4 London figure is replicated nationally of course)

    Melvin. no benefit criteria holds a morality clause. So it doesnt discriminate or allow subjectivity that says you only dropped a sprog to get more benefit therefore we are disallowing this as that Daily Mail-esque posit with no factual basis maintains.

    Raleigh - you can add to your point by stating correctly we have no definition of what is a bedroom and what constitutes a bedroom in terms of size for example.

    However, my key point is that if social housing could be uber-efficient and those underoccupying could downsize and those overcrowded could 'upsize' then the only known impact is thaat the HB bill would increase.

    That simple valid fact reveals the bedroom tax to be pure superficial spin that if enacted in the most efficient way would increase the taxpayer cost / public purse bill.

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  • Joe Halewood. I am more than happy with a benefit dependant couple who only need one bedroom leaving their 3 bed accommodation because of a 25% penalty which paves the way for a family who are currently overcrowed to move in to their property. The amount of housing benefit the family subseqentl receive is irrelevant. Making better use of housing stock is the key moral issue. I also agree with the cap, however, because I don't think that having 5/6/7 + kids should be a loophole for a benefit depedant family to live in a large expesive house at the taxpayers expense. Having that many kids when you can't afford them is irresponsible and morally wrong...

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  • Melvin Bone

    Joe. I was stating that someone who is already overcrowded really needs to think twice before popping more sprogs. Common sense?

    I love the Daily Mail line though. Are you saying all stories in the Daily Mail have no factual basis?

    Are there not a psuedo morality clauses in the payment of Social Fund and Discretionary Housing Payments?

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