POLITICS

Schoolgirl, 10, Whose Whole Family Sleep In ONE Room Pleads With MP For Help

Girl is ashamed to tell friends how she lives and says her schoolwork is suffering.

16/10/2017 13:26 BST | Updated 16/10/2017 15:31 BST
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A 10-year-old girl has written to her MP to say her whole family sleeps in one room and her cramped living conditions are disrupting her schoolwork. 

In a heartbreaking letter, the youngster told Labour MP Stephen Timms she, her mum and dad and brother all sleep in a single room, somewhere in London’s East Ham, and she “feels shame”. 

The girl’s father works long hours in security, Timms said, and is reluctant to claim benefits. The room was all the family have been able to find within their budget.

“I live with my mum, my dad and my brother,” the unidentified girl writes. “We all live in one room. Our home is very small and I feel shame to sleep with my family. 

“I really want my own room. I don’t want to tell my friends that I sleep with my parents. 

“So, I really want a big house to move freely to continue my study normally  and to be careful from health and safety.” 

Timms said the desperately sad letter was “increasingly, not uncommon” and Wes Streeting, Ilford North Labour MP, who called the note “heartbreaking” said he had also been approached by schoolchildren with “similar stories about their hardship”. 

It comes amid an extraordinary rise in the number of families living in temporary accommodation such as B&Bs, particularly within London. 

Government statistics reveal that since the Tories came to power in 2010, homelessness and the number of people living in temporary accommodation has risen dramatically.

In June 2010, the number of families with children living in B&Bs for more than six weeks was 160.

At the end of March of this year, that figure had risen to 1,290 - an increase of 706%. 

Graph showing a 700 increase in the number of families with a child living in a BB for more than six weeks

The total number of children in all kinds of temporary accommodation – B&Bs, hostels, women’s refuges, council homes and private rooms – has increased from 72,590 in 2010 to 118,960 at the end of last year.

Timms told HuffPost UK that he met the girl's father at constituency surgery and he had handed over his daughter's letter.

Timms said: "Housing problems in London are getting worse.  There is an unanswerable case for a big new investment in social housing.  We can’t afford to wait much longer."