Skip to main content

Bed and Breakfast Accommodation: Children

Volume 499: debated on Wednesday 11 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many homeless children aged 16 years and under were accommodated in bed and breakfast accommodation provided by local authorities for more than six weeks in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. (297692)

Children's Services authorities have responsibility for meeting the needs of homeless children under 16 if they are a “child in need”. Children's Services authorities and housing authorities both have certain obligations towards homeless 16-year-old children. Under the homelessness legislation (Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996) housing authorities must secure accommodation for applicants who are eligible for assistance, homeless through no fault of their own and who have a priority need for accommodation. Families with dependent children aged 16 have a priority need for accommodation.

Information about English local housing authorities' actions under the homelessness legislation is collected quarterly at local authority level. Data collected include the number of applicants accepted by local housing authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty (to secure that suitable accommodation is available). If a settled home is not immediately available, the authority must secure temporary accommodation until a settled home becomes available.

Information on the number of applicant households with dependent children (and expected children) in bed and breakfast hotels and other privately managed shared facility annexes (“B&B style temporary accommodation”), who had been resident there for six weeks or more, is reported quarterly by local authorities as at the last day of each quarter. This figure will include applicant households with children under 16-years-old or dependent children aged 16 to 18, although the number of such dependent children within these households cannot be identified.

The number of applicant households with dependent children (or expected children) in B&B style temporary accommodation in England, who had been resident in such accommodation for six weeks or more at the end of March in each of the last seven years, is shown in the following table:

At the end of financial year (31 March) 2008-09

Number of households with dependent children in B&B temporary accommodation for six weeks or more

2008-09

70

2007-08

160

2006-07

80

2005-06

110

2004-05

110

2003-04

30

2002-03

2,910

Prior to financial year 2002-03 this information was not held centrally.

The number of households headed by an applicant aged 16 or 17 in B&B style temporary accommodation in England, who had been resident in such accommodation for six weeks or more at the end of March in each of the last two years, is shown in the following table. It is not possible to separately identify those households headed by a 16-year-old applicant.

At the end of financial year (31 March)

Number of 16 to 17-year-old households in B&B temporary accommodation for six weeks or more

2008-09

120

2007-08

250

Prior to financial year 2007-08 this information was not held centrally.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) collect information from Children's Services authorities on looked after children. It is not possible to identify, of these children, how many of them had previously been homeless and as a result are ‘looked after’ by the Children's Services.