One in four London children are living in overcrowded homes, new figures reveal, as the housing and homelessness charity Shelter called on London Mayor Boris Johnson to do more to tackle the problem.
Shelter's analysis of English Housing Survey figures shows 391,000 children (24 per cent) in London are living in overcrowded conditions – an increase of 18 per cent since 2008.
The biggest rise is in the social rented sector, where 43 per cent of children now live in overcrowded homes.
The news comes as Shelter launched a short film, ‘A Question for Mr Johnson’.
The film features children talking about the devastating impact which overcrowding is having on their education. They call on the Mayor of London to do more to help.
In 2009, Boris Johnson set a target of halving severe overcrowding in the capital by 2016, saying: "We're investing over £1 billion a year to increase the number of family-size, affordable homes in the capital and rewriting the design guide to make sure our homes are fit for more than just hobbits."
Shelter warns that the growth in overcrowding, which is expected to increase further when changes to housing benefit start to take effect, mean that the Mayor’s target is getting further and further off track.
Shelter’s chief executive Campbell Robb said: "There’s no doubt that overcrowding is London’s hidden housing crisis. Behind closed doors, hundreds of thousands of children are suffering in cramped conditions that are doing lasting damage to their education and wellbeing.
"It’s shocking to think that in the twenty-first century this is a problem that is getting worse."
He continued, "Simply put, unless more is urgently done to tackle overcrowding, many more London children will be robbed of a fair chance in life. We need to see bigger and bolder action from the Mayor or we risk failing a whole generation of London children."