Westminster Spending Over £2m On Hotels For Homeless Families

BBC London has shown that Westminster council has spent more than £2m this financial year housing homeless families in B&Bs and hotels, because housing benefit cuts and a shortage of suitable properties have left them with nowhere else to go.

Westminster isn’t the only council placing families in B&B accommodation. In December we saw that several boroughs were breaking the law that’s supposed to limit these temporary placements to six weeks – but what else are they supposed to do? Councils have a statutory duty to house anyone who turns up and is homeless; benefit cuts have led to more people becoming homeless and councils are struggling to find anywhere else families can afford. And that’s leading to councils spending more on hotels than they were on housing benefit. This may be the very definition of a false economy.

You might say that if people can’t afford the rent in Westminster, they shouldn’t live there. Well, we’re in the middle of some research on this very subject and it’s looking like if you’re on a low income in London, it’s quite difficult to live anywhere without the kind of state help that’s being scaled back. More on this to come, and we suspect more of these seemingly-illogical housing stories to come too.

Image of one of the hotels Westminster are using from Google Streetview.

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  • http://twitter.com/doylefotografix doyle

    3 floors rented by Westminster Council at Jury’s Inn Chelsea.? Not enough housing in Westminster..Whats the answer?

  • SG

    What is to stop anyone turning up at Westminster housing offices, claiming homelessness, and being housed in a hotel, before offered a place in a social rented place as an urgetnt priority?

    The people featured could easily find a place in zone 2 outwards under the generous housing benefit cap of £1600 a month. Go to many parts of zone 4 and a large semi would be entirely paid for. Before they were getting 32k a year housing paid for and now its ‘just’ 18.2k a year. What percentage of people working can afford that? Not many of those paying thousands to commute for an hour plus each way.

    Yes, much more social housing should be built. The whole housing issue in London is a mess and many are profiting obscenely from it. But I can’t feel much sympathy for people who were able to live right in the centre of London for free, didn’t work, and claimed 32k housing benefit, and can now get over 18k. They wouldn’t have to move far out – a place in Deptford (zone 2) for example is still well within benefit budget. Having to move a few miles out isn’t the biggest hardship – many struggling to work have to do it, and often much further out.

  • JadeBadAssBabe

    not westminster but i would like to refer readers to this : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2275854/Jade-Jagger-Daughter-200m-Sir-Mick-living-120-week-flat-normally-occupied-council-tenants-disabled.html#axzz2KO8ExDhH
    I guess we can all work out the flaws in this housing crisis- some of us are better at exploiting them?

  • Mollie

    Jurys Inns Chelsea managers must be so lazy getting customers for their hotel. Who ever is taking credit at that hotel for high sales revenue should be seriously questioned, greedy idiots! I work for a hotel as well and I know. This must be a lottery for both the hotel and the hotel booking agent concerned!!! Customers should symply not pay more than £20 per night for this hotel as it smells like homeless people!

  • Amy

    Sources from Jurys Inn Chealsea have it that Polyglobe ltd confirmed the total hotel spend for City Westminster Council on hotels for the homeless total £12million in 2012. Tax payers money going to waste.