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Thursday, April 8, 1999 Published at 06:11 GMT 07:11 UK


'Cramped life' for Bangladeshis

Bangladeshis lacking privacy and dignity, says the report

Bangladeshis in London are 40 times more likely to live in cramped and poor housing than anyone else in the UK, according to a study.

A fifth of Bangladeshis live in overcrowded conditions, the Policy Studies Institute found.

[ image: Tower Hamlets: Fear of racism deepens the problem]
Tower Hamlets: Fear of racism deepens the problem
Families have twice as many people per room as white households and 43% live in homes with insufficient bedroom space - compared with a national average of 3%.

The report called for a programme to overhaul public housing, especially in the London borough of Tower Hamlets, where the bulk of the UK Bangladeshi population lives.

Study author Elaine Kempson said: "The heart of the problem lies in the trend in Britain towards a greater number of smaller households as young people leave home at an earlier age and larger numbers of marriages break down.

"As a consequence, Bangladeshi communities, where the extended family remains strong, find that their needs for larger homes cannot be met.

"The consequences are serious and wide-ranging."

Insanitary conditions

The report found that the results of overcrowding resulted in a widespread lack of privacy and dignity.

In particular bedrooms have to be shared, and bathroom facilities are often inadequate, it said.

In Tower Hamlets, where 36,955 Bangladeshis were recorded in the 1991 census, housing officers have found fear of racism has made the problem worse.

The desire to remain within a tight community is putting Bangladeshis off moving to areas where larger properties are available.

Better management of public housing - and improved designs - would help alleviate the problem, the Policy Studies Institute said.

Its report comes a day after Britain's Eastern Eye newspaper said Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are among Britain's poorest Asians.

They are worse off, as a whole, than pensioners and are more likely to live in run-down, crime-ridden neighbourhoods, it said.

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