Health Inequalities (Supplementary) [5]

Session date: 
May 23, 2007
Question By: 
Jennette Arnold OBE
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Staying with this issue, the last point that I want to raise with you and I do hope that you will agree with me and get your support for some action on this, is that the current statutory definition of overcrowding states that it is acceptable for children to sleep in living rooms, hallways and kitchens.

I recently visited a couple with five children in a two bedroom flat. The only space that the children could just gather, because everywhere else was beds, was in the passageway, which was just totally unacceptable. The problem here is that the definition has remained unchanged since 1935 so clearly there is a need here to change that definition so that we can allow children to live dignified and healthy lives.

I notice that Shelter has called on the Government to do some work in this area. Will you join me in sending a joint letter, with me wearing my hat as Chair of LHC, to support Shelter's call for the Government to review this area?

Supplementary To: 


Answer for Health Inequalities (Supplementary) [5]

Answer for Health Inequalities (Supplementary) [5]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

The Housing Strategy document which I broadly signed off on yesterday - it has still got the changes I made to be worked through - makes changes to the quality of provision and the environmental sustainability of provision. I think we have pushed it as far as we can possibly go on sustainability, and we are certainly not being bound by pre-war definitions of overcrowding. The standards we are setting are in advance and better than the Parker Morris standards that Mrs Thatcher's government junked back in 1979. When the strategy comes out there will be real improvement in this area. It may not be adequate for you, but that is what the consultation is about; to have a debate about it.

Jennette Arnold (AM): OK. So can we do a joint letter of support to Shelter because we do need extra support?

Mayor (Ken Livingstone): I would be happy to. If you give me a draft I will kick it around.