Council housing homeless families in £1,500 per week hotel rooms
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Communities, Housing
Westminster City Council is paying over £1,500 per week to house homeless families in West End hotel rooms.
Over 120 families with children in the borough have currently been put up in hotels or B&Bs for over the legal six-week time limit.
Labour councillors revealed the information after obtaining the data from council officers.
The 10 most expensive weekly hotel bedroom charges being paid by the council are:
Royal Eagle Hotel £1,540.00
Copthorne Tara Hotel Ldn Ken £1,400.00
Comfort Inn Buckingham Palace £1,335.81
Ambassadors Hotel London £1,277.50
Quality Hotel Wembley £1,015.00
Central Park Hotel £1,190.00
Comfort Inn Vauxhall Hotel £904.19
Holiday Inn Exp London City £875.00
Jurys Inn Chelsea London £758.31
Royal National Hotel £853.02
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, leader of the Labour Group, said: “These figures show the financial incompetence of Westminster Conservatives. Having lobbied heavily for the introduction of Housing Benefit caps, Westminster Conservatives suddenly find out that there are not enough homes available for those in housing need and are now having to pay massive weekly payment to four star hotels which are costing up to six times more than the Housing Benefit cap levels.
"Every Westminster tax payer is having to foot the bill for the Council’s gross incompetence and yet the Conservatives still refuse to apologise for this expensive shambles.”
Cllr Jonathan Glanz, the council’s portfolio holder for housing, said: “Because of our location at the heart of London, Westminster City Council has unique pressures on its housing stock – we currently receive just under 130 homeless applications a month of which we accept just under half. This year alone, we will accept a housing duty to more than 800 households.
“Of those seeking council properties, a third actually have very little connection with Westminster, other than having spent the last six months here. Nonetheless, we have a legal duty to house some people in hotels and B&Bs while we assess their longer term needs. We are actively sourcing more temporary accommodation as quickly as possible, and we have added more than 600 units of self-contained accommodation to our stock in the last year.
“The basic issue is we have too many people looking for housing in Westminster with too few properties on the market, and this is a problem across London. The cap on housing benefits means some of those who used to live in Westminster – one of the most expensive areas in the country - can no longer afford to do at the taxpayers’ expense.”