Ministers accused over 680,000 children growing up in 'slum' homes

Ministers are accused of ‘blighting’ the lives of 680,000 children who are growing up in ‘slum’ homes

  • Analysis of English Housing Survey shows 680,000 kids in ‘non-decent’ homes
  • Labour accuses ministers of ‘blighting’ lives of children by failing to act faster
  • Ministry of Housing insists they are driving up standards in the rented sector 

Ministers have been accused of ‘blighting’ the lives of hundreds of thousands of children who are growing up in ‘slum’ homes.

Some 682,000 in England are living in private rental properties that are classified as ‘non-decent’, according to analysis by Labour. 

That means they are cold, damp, unsafe or lack modern facilities, under the government’s official definition.

Shadow housing secretary John Healey, who compiled the figures, also raised fears that local councils are being blocked from introducing their own measures to tackle housing quality issues.

He pointed to Liverpool City Council being prevented from continuing a licensing scheme to weed out bad landlords.

However, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) insisted it was ‘committed to driving up standards across the rented sector’. It said councils already had strong powers to address abuses. 

Some 682,000 children in England are living in private rental properties that are classified as ‘non-decent’, according to analysis by Labour

The figures, extracted from the most recent English Housing Survey last year, show 300,000 of the children in ‘non-decent’ homes are in the north and midlands. 

Mr Healey said he would try to amend any suitable legislation in Parliament to introduce a ‘property MOT’, which could see the worst landlords facing £100,000 fines.

‘Tory ministers are blighting the childhoods of kids growing up in slum rented homes,’ he said.

‘It’s a bad start for Boris Johnson when the new Conservative government is giving a green light to slum landlords by vetoing council schemes designed to being homes up to scratch.

‘They are letting down renters who need their help.

‘Some of the worst conditions are in areas in the north and the midlands, where voters lent their votes to the Tories will end up bitterly disappointed by a Conservative Party unwilling to act on bad landlords.’ 

An MHCLG spokesman said: ‘Children deserve the best possible start in life, which includes having a safe and decent home – that is why we are committed to driving up standards across the rented sector.

‘Local authorities have strong powers to enforce against criminal landlords, including civil penalties of up to £30,000 and banning orders for the worst offenders.’

Shadow housing secretary John Healey, who compiled the figures, raised fears that local councils are being blocked from introducing their own measures to tackle housing issues

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