Children and families living in “Dickensian” overcrowded conditions have been promised more help in the form of new social housing schemes with a higher proportion of three- and four-bedroom homes.
Housing minister Yvette Cooper, speaking at an Association of London Government conference on overcrowding, said that the first step would be to increase the proportion of new social housing in London with three or more bedrooms from 27% to 34%.
“It is deeply unfair on children if they have no space to do their homework, or end up sleeping in sitting rooms because their home is too small,” she said. “That is why we have to do more to improve family housing.”
In conjunction with the announcement, the ALG has drawn up a 10-point action plan aimed at halving overcrowding in London and eliminating severe overcrowding by 2015. They are calling for a dedicated Overcrowding Unit to be set up by the government.
Last year housing charity Shelter launched a campaign to get more than a million children out of overcrowded conditions. Director Adam Sampson said that building larger homes was a good start.
“We welcome the commitment to modernising our Dickensian overcrowding standards, which have institutionalised the neglect of overcrowded families for decades.
“Today more than 900,000 children in England – including more than 26,000 in London alone – are having their health, education and future chances ruined by cramped conditions.”