News flashback: September 1986 – £2million hotel bills for homeless families

Hackney Gazette 30.9.86

Hackney Gazette 30.9.86 - Credit: Archant

Every week the Gazette will delve into its archives to see what was happening in Hackney 30 and 60 years ago. This week features a sadly familiar housing problem blighting Hackney in 1986.

Hackney Gazette 28.9.56

Hackney Gazette 28.9.56 - Credit: Archant

30 years ago:

Hotel bills for homeless families had cost Hackney Council more than £2million in the last six months.

That was enough to build two new estates – and councillors were blaming the government.

Five hundred families were living in bed and breakfasts, an increase of 200 in one year.


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Cllr Peter Conway, the housing boss, called on Whitehall to lift curbs on council house building and allow some of the hotel money to be spent on new homes.

He said: “The government continues to cut our programme to build new homes and renovate old properties and even prevents us buying homes on the open market so there remains little we can offer to homeless families.”

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60 years ago:

Alderman Sammy Fisher, leader of Stoke Newington Council, said there was no cause for alarm after homeowners raised questions about hooliganism in the borough.

Police had said a “gang of yobs” were roaming the streets and Alderman Fisher said the council would work with the cops to eliminate the “undesirable characters”.

Fred Russell OBE, former Gazette editor, turned 94. The one-time ventriloquist music hall star and father of Val Parnell was previously a reporter from 1885 to 1894.

The failure of drivers to fill in forms correctly about their hours of driving led their employer, The Durable Asphalt Company, to be summonsed to court.

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