A family from Waltham Forest forced into a one bedroom flat in Luton have said they feel like prisoners.

Zafar Iqbal, 57, said his family were struggling to survive after being crowded into a one-bedroom flat, with the father being made to sleep on the kitchen floor.

Waltham Forest council has leased the block of 53 flats in Luton to house other residents including a family of six in a one-bedroom flat, who it cannot accommodate in the borough.

Mr Iqbal, 57, a cab driver, lived in Blyth Road, Walthamstow for seven years before losing his job and being housed at the temporary property in March this year with his wife and his 12 and nine-year-old sons.

He said: “I wasn’t given a choice. It was either go to Luton or just walk out of the door and be on the street.

“I asked if we could go to Birmingham or anywhere else but I was told again this was my only choice.

“If the council came down here they could see the reality is tough.

“My children wake up at 6am to get ready for school and they are so tired you can see it in their eyes. There were no places at the local school here.

“I have never claimed benefits from the state before but we have lost our freedom, we feel like prisoners here, waiting to go home.

“They have told me it could be up to two years. We are away from all our friends and other family members in east London it is horrible.”

Councillor Tom Shaw, from Luton Borough council, told Luton on Sunday that the authority only knew about the new residents after children tried to attend a school which was full.

He said: "What we've been talking about for two years is happening but now [Waltham Forest council] are actually buying complete blocks and moving people in.”

John Knight, director at Ascham Homes, the housing manager for Waltham Forest council, maintained that Luton council were informed of the new residents.

He said: “Due to the level of housing demand in Waltham Forest, the council is not currently able to source sufficient properties within the borough or in east London generally which can be used as temporary accommodation.

“Our supplies are under instructions to secure properties in Waltham Forest wherever possible.

“Where the pipeline of such properties is not sufficient to meet our needs we consider properties in other boroughs, and make use of them where we are satisfied they are both suitable and cost-effective.

“We take into account the size of families when placing them in these properties however, it is not always possible to avoid some families having fewer bedrooms than their assessed needs.

“In the short term we have no realistic option other than to place some families elsewhere to meet our legal obligations to the homeless.”