Labour Councillors in Westminster are celebrating their success in shaming Westminster Conservatives in to finally take action to stop their illegal practice of housing homeless families with children in Bed & Breakfast accommodation for more than six weeks.

Early this year there were over 170 families with children in B&B accommodation for more than 6 weeks and involved the Council spending over £25 million on housing homeless families in temporary accommodation, including expensive hotels, because the Council could not find anywhere to house them. The Council spent £248,000 on rooms at the Jurys Inn Hotel in Chelsea during January and February 2013 and paid £171,000 for rooms at the Copthorne Tara Hotel, Kensington.

Earlier this year Westminster Council’s spending on housing families in hotels in London, including the West End, was £145,000 a week, according to information supplied to Labour Councillors by Council officers. On an annual basis this worked out at a massive £7.5 million.

In November 2012 Westminster City Council was told by Housing Minister Mark Prisk MP that its continued placing of families with children in Bed & Breakfast Hotels for more than six weeks was “unlawful and unacceptable”. In April 2012, the then Housing Minister GrantShapps MP wrote to council leaderPhilippa Roe and said: “I have instructed my officials to contact your authority and offer their help and support in reducing levels of B & B use.” No action was taken by the Council despite these clear Government warnings.

 Now Councillors have been told;

“There are now no (zero) Families in B&B over 6 weeks (reduced from a peak of 171 several months ago) which is reflective of procuring more self-contained accommodation. In recent weeks, the supply of new self-contained properties is exceeding new demand but remains predominantly ‘nightly booked’ accommodation although more than 30 new long-term leased properties were sourced in the month. “

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, outlined Labour’scampaign to make the Council comply with the law which included;


Councillor Dimoldenberg said;

There are now no Westminster families who have been in B&B accommodation for more than 6 weeks and that is very good news. After a long-running campaignLabour Councillors have shamed the Conservatives in to taking action and housing families with children properly, as well as saving tax payers millions of pounds.