Spending on B&Bs rockets

Councils only use ‘B&Bs’ as a last resort, but the continued loss of social housing is leaving many with no alternative in which to house homeless families.

Latest figures show that councils in England were forced to spend £93.3 million on B&B accommodation in 2017/18 – up from £10.6 million in 2009/10.

There are currently 7,040 households in B&Bs – up from 2,450 a decade ago.

The LGA is calling on the Government to give councils long-term funding to reduce homelessness and prevent it happening in the first place, as well as the powers to build more affordable housing and to replace homes being sold under Right to Buy.

It also says the Government needs to adapt welfare reforms to protect families at risk of becoming homeless, by restoring local housing allowance rates to at least the 30th percentile of rents when the current freeze ends in 2020 (see p15).

Councils in England directly built 2,550 homes in 2018/19 – the highest figure since 1992/93 – but the LGA warns this risks being undermined by councils only being able to replace a quarter of homes sold under Right to Buy. Reform of Right to Buy is needed so that councils can set discounts locally and retain 100 per cent of receipts to reinvest in replacing homes.

Cllr David Renard, the LGA’s Housing Spokesperson, said: “This analysis shows that, sadly, many councils are exhausting all their options and are having little choice but to use B&Bs more and more.

“Not only is this far from ideal for families, it is very expensive for councils. They would much rather use these scarce resources to build more affordable homes and prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place.”

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