Feb 11 2013
Hotel Bills for some families in Westminster have topped £12,000 per month with the council paying out more than £2 million in the first nine months of last year. The council says government limits on the amount people can claim in housing benefit have led to a rise in the numbers becoming homeless in the area.
BBC But the government said Westminster Council’s behaviour was “unacceptable.” Councils have a legal duty to re-house homeless people.
The Osman family have been at the Jury’s Inn since the start of November, after changes to their housing benefit left them unable to afford the four-bedroom home they rented. They now share three rooms at the hotel.
“It’s very hard,” says father, Ali Sharif Osman.” “We don’t have a cooker, we don’t have a fridge so we have to go out and buy takeaways every day. (Paid for by taxpayers, no doubt).”The hotel is also further from the children’s schools”.
He says the family used to receive £700-a-week in housing benefit until that was capped. BBC London was told the taxpayer is paying £350-a-night to house his family at the Jury’s Inn Hotel.
Another invoice seen by BBC London shows the bill for a family of four, being housed at the Copthorne Tara Hotel in Kensington came to more than £12,500 for a month. The taxpayer had previously paid just over £3,000 in Housing Benefit for the family’s previous home.