future in cramped bed and breakfast hotels, as the ODPM today announces that it has met its B&B target.
Figures published by the ODPM show a massive 99.3 per cent reduction
weeks when the target was introduced two years ago.
Nearly 4,000 homeless families were living in B&Bs long term when the
target was announced in March 2002. The reductions achieved over the
last two years means that around 6,000 fewer children are now having
to live long term in B&B hotels.
The government has succeeded in reversing the long-running culture
among many local authorities of relying on B&Bs as long-term
accommodation for homeless families with children.
Local authorities will benefit, as B&B has always been the most
expensive form of temporary accommodation, placing a drain on
Minister for homelessness Jeff Rooker said:
'This is a tremendous achievement, and one which has changed the
lives of literally thousands of children across England.
'Childhoods spent in B&B can have a damaging impact on the health,
education and the development of children, as they are often forced
to spend time in cramped conditions with no space to play or do
'This would have been impossible without the government's B&B target.
If trends in temporary accommodation use had continued without the
target, there would now be between 8,500 and 9,700 families in B&B
long term at the end of March.
'I am particularly pleased that all London boroughs have met the
target. The use of B&B accommodation for families with children was
greatest and the pressure was highest in the capital.
'Local authorities across the whole of England are now making
reliance on B&B a thing of the past by preventing homelessness,
findi ng better forms of accommodation, and pursuing innovative ways
to offer families with children a better future.'
'Government figures show that the number of homeless households -
families, single people and couples - being placed in B&Bs by local
authorities has dropped during the last five quarters: the first
time such a sustained reduction has been achieved for over a decade.
'This is also excellent news, but the hard work does not stop here.
We must continue working with local authorities and the voluntary
sector to prevent homelessness and reduce use of temporary
accommodation for all homeless people.'
Many of the local authorities which have now eradicated long-term B&B
use for families with children were those which previously relied on
For example, the London borough of Newham had 371 families with
children in B&Bs for more than six weeks in March 2002, while Ealing
had 236. Both these local authorities have brought these figures down
to zero, while also reducing the overall number of families with
children in B&Bs.
The ODPM granted local authorities across England£45 million in
2004/05 to deliver local homelessness strategies which tackle the
National homelessness charity Shelter has welcomed the achievement on
B&B. Shelter's director, Adam Samson, said:
'Meeting the target is a massive achievement, which has benefited
thousands of homeless families. This reduction in the number of
families in B&B could not have been achieved without the target, the
resources provided and the commitment of the government and the
local authorities to meet it.
'It is important now to move the agenda forward so that other people,
not covered by this target but still living in B&B, are not left
1. A table showing a sample of former high-using bed and breakfast
local authorities in England is availa ble here.
2. The government's target states that, by 31 March 2004, local
authorities should ensure that no homeless family with children
should have to live in a bed and breakfast hotel, except in an
emergency, and then for no more than six weeks.
3. On 31 March 2004 there were 26 families still living in a B&B for
more than six weeks. Of these 23 have now been rehoused. In many
cases, these families were in B&B waiting for the most suitable
accommodation to become available. In these circumstances, delaying
the move would prevent the family moving twice in a short period of
4. The Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (England) Order
2003 came into force on 1 April 2004, to reinforce and sustain the
B&B target. The Order means that local authorities are no longer able
to discharge their homelessness duty to secure accommodation by
placing families with children in B&B for longer than six weeks.
5. The Order does not apply to authorities that are housing a family
under a discretionary power. For example, during a review or appeal
against a decision of the local authority that they are not owed a
homelessness duty. If authorities fail to comply with the Order,
their decision can be subject to review and then can be challenged in
the civil courts.
6. The Homelessness Act 2002 required each local authority in England
to produce a local homelessness strategy by July 2003. These
strategies set out how each local authority plans to address the
problem of homelessness in their area, and how they will work with
other agencies and the voluntary sector to adopt a partnership
approach to the issue.
7. A complete list of the final figures submitted by local
authorities for B&B use as at 31 March 2004 is available here.
8. Further informati on on government initiatives to tackle
homelessness is available at: www.odpm.gov.uk/homelessness
SAMPLE OF FORMER HIGH-USING B&B LOCAL AUTHORITIES IN ENGLAND (FWC =
families with children)
The columns show the comparison between December 2002 and March 2004,
figures for all families with children in B&Bs and, of those, how
many had been in a B&B for more than six weeks
Local Authority Region Dec 02 Dec 02 Mar 04 March 04
No. of No. in No. of No. in
FWC in B&B > 6 FWC in B&B > 6
B&B weeks B&B weeks
1. Newham London 482 371 30 0
2. Hammersmith & London 307 247 11 0
3. Brent London 341 239 6 0
4. Ealing London 516 236 0 0
5. Hillingdon London 209 199 4 0
6. Croydon London 241 162 11 0
7. Lambeth London 193 161 0 0
8. Redbridge London 175 130 32 0
9. Kensington & London 130 120 0 0
10. Westminster London 151 105 52 0
11. Wandsworth London 150 99 6 0
12. Tower Hamlets London 142 91 17 0
13. Hounslow London 111 91 0 0
14. Enfield London 83 78 0 0
15. Camden London 90 77 7 0
16. Hackney London 133 58 0 0
17. Southwark London 80 54 0 0
18. Bournemouth South West 69 49 6 0
19. Salisbury South West 51 44 0 0
20. Penwith South West 45 38 1 0
21. Barnet London 83 37 0 0
22. Brighton & Hove 67 34 6 0
23. Northampton East 44 35 32 0
24. Bromley London 78 33 0 0
25. Southend East 54 32 0 0
26. Haringey London 36 26 0 0
27. Christchurch South West 24 23 4 0
28. Exeter South West 30 22
29. South South West 26 21 0 0
30. Isle of Wight South East 29 20 4 0
31. Bristol South West 37 18 7 0
32. Sutton London 32 18 0 0
33. Islington London 22 18 0 0
34. Restormel South West 28 16 3 0
35. Bexley London 22 16 0 0
36. Elmbridge South East 17 15 20
37. Norwich Eastern 23 14 4 0
38. Richmond upon London 15 10 2 0
39. Medway Towns South East 16 9 0 0
40. Waltham Forest London 12 8 0 0
41. Plymouth South West 15 6 8 0