Report (2nd Day)
Baroness Gardner of Parkes (Conservative)
My Lords, I am sympathetic to the idea of the need for action on this. I was very distressed this week to meet someone in a studio flat, or self-contained bedsit, who told me it is impossible for her to sleep. The private accommodation units where she resides are listed as being for one person, but immediately above her, accommodation of the same size is shared by five people. She finds it impossible to sleep, or even live there. She is trying to find somewhere to move to in any case, as her small accommodation is going up from £600 per month to £800 per month, but she works as a cleaner and is experiencing great difficulty.
What worries me is that this is an illegal overcrowding, from what the noble Baroness has said, and yet the tenants are frightened to do anything about it for fear of being put out. I asked her why she did not report it and she said she did not dare because she would be put out and would have nowhere, and until she could find somewhere to go to she could do nothing. This is what worries me about this amendment. It is marvellous to make all these proposals but where is the accommodation going to come from to house all these people?
I come from a very big family and we were fortunate enough to have a house, and space is not so limited in Australia, but if you have a big family would you not rather be somewhere safe and secure, even overcrowded, than nowhere at all? I am very concerned about the impact of being too precise about things. As I say, in theory it is absolutely marvellous but I would really like to know how it is going to work in practice.