New figures show 76 Wandsworth families will be living in one-room temporary accomodation this Christmas


MP Sadiq Khan said the council is failing the borough’s children.


By Joel Lamy

Tooting MP Sadiq Khan has accused the government and Wandsworth Council of failing the borough’s children after figures revealed a rise in families living in temporary accommodation.

Freedom of Information requests by the Labour MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice show the number of Wandsworth families living in temporary accommodation has almost doubled since 2008/09, going from 450 to 800.

The figures also revealed that there are currently 76 incidences of families living in council-arranged temporary accommodation of only one room per family.

Last year 834 children in Wandsworth were without a home during Christmas, a situation which Mr Khan does not expect to improve any time soon.

“These figures show that the Government and Wandsworth Council are failing the children of our borough. No child should be without a home, and I am sure parents across Wandsworth will share my outrage,” he said.

“Children need space at home – to do their homework, play with siblings – and just to be children.

“The revelations that more than 70 families are currently squeezed in just one room and that hundreds of Wandsworth children are likely to spend this Christmas without a home are heart-breaking.”

In response, Wandsworth Council said: “All councils across London have seen an increase in the use of temporary accommodation over the past five years. 

“We take our legal obligations very seriously indeed and work hard to prevent homelessness wherever possible.”

Mr Khan is currently serving his second term as Tooting MP having been first elected in 2005.

His findings come a month after homeless charity Shelter launched an emergency appeal after their findings said 80,000 children in England, Scotland and Wales will wake up on Christmas Day in temporary accommodation.

This statistic was based on figures released by the Department for Communities and Local Government which showed 82,528 children had been living in temporary accommodation in March this year.

This included families living in bed and breakfast style accommodation, sometimes beyond the legal limit of six weeks.

Commenting on the report, Campbell Robb – chief executive of Shelter – said: “Our shocking findings have uncovered the shameful conditions homeless children will be living in this Christmas.

“Parents and children sharing beds, children forced to eat on the floor and being threatened with violence in the place they live: this shouldn’t be happening in twenty-first century Britain.”

The government’s Housing Minister Kris Hopkins stated that local councils are given £1billion a year to tackle homelessness and support people affected by welfare reforms.

Photo courtesy of Steve Punter, with thanks.

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