The latest figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government have shown that Tower Hamlets has unlawfully placed 94 families with children in ‘temporary’ B&B accommodation for over six weeks. The figures place Tower Hamlets as the second worst offender in the country.
Government rules state that families with children can only be housed in a bed and breakfast in an emergency, and even then, normally only for a maximum of six weeks. After that, the council is legally required to find you somewhere more suitable to live.
Labour councillors say that the numbers show that vulnerable families are being let down by Lutfur Rahman’s administration. They have also put in Members Enquiries to find out exactly how much the council is spending each month on extended bed and breakfast placements which other East London boroughs avoid. By contrast the neighbouring boroughs of Newham and Hackney had no families placed in B&B accommodation for more than six weeks leading to calls from Labour for the Mayor to get a grip on the situation.
The figures come only months after Freedom of Information responses revealed Rahman’s plan to place “up to 500 households out of London” in the 2013/14 municipal year. The council also admitted it was “looking for affordable properties in areas immediately to the South-East, East and North-East of London” in order to place people out of the borough.
Labour’s Housing Spokesperson, Cllr Abdal Ullah, said:
“Not only is this unlawful and costing the council thousands but it denies 94 vulnerable families the certainty they need about their future. If neighbouring Labour controlled boroughs can deal with this problem there is absolutely no excuse for Lutfur Rahman’s failure.”
Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said:
“While it is true that the council faces great pressures these are not greater than in other areas and these families are among our most vulnerable. The failure to follow the rules designed to protect them is a major failure of Lutfur Rahman.”