LONDON'S Mayor has responded to Essex council leaders who wrote to him slamming "despicable" borough councils who dump homeless people in the county.

A letter signed by every Essex Council leader, including Basildon's Andrew Baggott, Southend's John Lamb, and Castle Point's Norman Smith, was sent to Sadiq Khan in December.

Now, the mayor has responded stating he is "willing to play a part in conversations" between London boroughs and the local government association.

In November, the Echo revealed that South Essex Council's have taken 35 homeless families from London boroughs, with Basildon homing 27, and Southend a further eight.

The letter raised a series of issues, including a lack of communication between London authorities and Essex councils informing them of people being moved into the area, families being placed in inadequate housing, and the impact on local services.

Mr Khan claimed he has made it clear to London boroughs that they have an obligation to inform local authorities.

The response read: "I appreciate your concerns for the families affected by the huge increase in homelessness that we have seen in recent years.

"As you may know, monitoring by London boroughs indicates that, in the first quarter of the current

financial year, only 8 per cent of all temporary accommodation placements were outside


"As my Housing Strategy also makes clear, I am committed to working with London boroughs to

help them improve the accommodation options they are able to offer to homeless households.

"As I am sure you will agree, any real and lasting reduction in the number of homeless

households London boroughs place in other areas, and the numbers of households becoming

homeless in the first place, requires action from the Government."

The Essex Leaders and Chief Executives Group, which organised the initial letter, includes all 12 district and borough councils, Essex County Council, Southend and Thurrock unitary authorities and the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.