A London Assembly member has hit back at suggestions that she was “headline grabbing” in her report on ‘beds in sheds’ in the capital.

Susan Hall, a Harrow councillor and Conservative Assembly Member, produced her ‘Secret Sleepers’ report in a bid to tackle illegal dwellings across London.

She highlighted the potential scale of the problem, noting how there could be thousands of these in the region, including more than 300 in Harrow.

But her motives were questioned by James Murray, the Mayor of London’s Deputy Mayor for Housing, who suggested that she was using the report to focus on missed financial opportunities as opposed to the plight of London’s renters.

Ms Hall promptly dismissed these criticisms and accused Mr Murray of short-sightedness; noting how he had chosen to ignore her proposed solutions.

She said: “I’m disappointed that the Deputy Mayor for Housing has decided to attack my report on the appalling issue of beds in sheds across London, rather than listen to the suggestions it puts forward.

“The evidence I uncovered shows there are thousands of people being exploited by unscrupulous landlords across London, including Harrow, and many are forced to live in cramped, sub-standard accommodation.

“They deserve more than a terse dismissal from the man in charge of improving the situation.

“These unregistered homes are used to conceal human trafficking, illegal immigration and modern slavery.

“It is a genuine issue that needs a serious response. I am proud of my record on the issue in Harrow and the work I did in 2014 led to the identification of hundreds of illegal dwellings, where action could be taken.”

She reiterated the fact that she believes Sadiq Khan’s new London Plan will exacerbate the problem of beds in sheds since it will permit more in-fill developments in people’s gardens.

Mr Murray has defended the Mayor’s plan and said it is clearly committed to defending the best interest of the capital’s renters.

“After years of inaction from the previous Mayor, [Mr Khan] has made protecting Londoners from unscrupulous landlords a priority, which is precisely why he has pushed his powers to their fullest extent, and worked with boroughs across all parties to launch the first ever ‘name and shame’ Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker to crack down on those causing distress and misery for London’s renters,” he said.

“It’s clear to anyone that has read the London Plan that good quality design and stringent space standards are at the very heart of the Mayor’s housing plans.”

Mrs Hall disagrees and has urged both Mr Khan and Mr Murray to review the situation and “take the issue seriously”.