Getting mighty crowded

23 Apr

Image from The Economist

Despite the building boom across the borough the proportion of residents living in overcrowded households has risen by almost 50% in the last four years.

In 2010 the Office for National Statistics reported that 17.9% of households in Newham had fewer bedrooms than they needed, as defined by the ‘bedroom standard’.[1]

The 2014 report, published last week, showed that this is now 25.2%.

That’s not a happy statistic, especially when coupled with the fact that there are 24,000 families on the council house waiting list with almost no prospect of ever being offered a home.

So you have to ask how has this been allowed to happen? How can so many new homes have been built – look at the shiny new apartment blocks in Stratford, the Olympic village, the developments in Canning Town – yet the number of overcrowded households has gotten bigger?

Despite all the rhetoric about cracking down on rogue landlords and driving up the quality of housing in the borough, this is a damning record of failure by the mayor.

[1] ‘Bedroom standard’ is used as an indicator of occupation density. A standard number of bedrooms is allocated to each household in accordance with its age/sex/marital status composition and the relationship of the members to one another. A separate bedroom is allocated to each married or cohabiting couple, any other person aged 21 or over, each pair of adolescents aged 10 – 20 of the same sex, and each pair of children under 10. Any unpaired person aged 10 – 20 is paired, if possible with a child under 10 of the same sex, or, if that is not possible, he or she is given a separate bedroom, as is any unpaired child under 10. This standard is then compared with the actual number of bedrooms (including bed-sitters) available for the sole use of the household, and differences are tabulated. Bedrooms converted to other uses are not counted as available unless they have been denoted as bedrooms by the informants; bedrooms not actually in use are counted unless uninhabitable.

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