max temp: 13°C

min temp: 10°C


St Edmundsbury: Council spends £215,000 on bed and breakfasts for the homeless

10:05 27 January 2014


Temporary bed and breakfast accommodation for homeless people in west Suffolk is set to cost taxpayers almost a quarter of a million pounds.


St Edmundsbury Borough Council anticipates spending £215,000 on putting people accepted as homeless into B&Bs this financial year - more than six times the council’s £35,000 outlay two years ago.

The spending comes amid growing pressure on the council’s social housing system, with reliance on B&Bs - traditionally seen as a last resort - and other temporary accommodation on the rise.

Homeless charities have called on councils to do more to prevent people ending up in B&Bs, while councillor Frank Warby thinks St Edmundsbury should spend the money on better solutions.

He said: “We’d be better off spending that on buying houses for people to live in rather than wasting it on bed and breakfasts.

“They’re only there for six weeks, and then they move on. It’s an awful waste of money.”

St Edmundsbury spent £146,000 on B&Bs last year, with local and national organisations blaming the rising numbers of homeless people on changes to the welfare system.

A Freedom of Information (FoI) request by the EADT found the number of households in temporary and either shared or bed and breakfast accommodation increased dramatically after the second half of 2012.

Anne Gower, the council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “We have a duty to find accommodation for homeless people. Bed and breakfast is the most expensive solution of the range of options that we use.

“Since last summer, we’ve managed to reduce the number of people in B&Bs from 28 to eight.”

Councils are only allowed to place homeless families or pregnant women in B&Bs for up to six weeks.

Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb said: “Our welfare system must be fair, but these figures show that cuts to our housing safety net are simply a false economy, leaving more families stuck in emergency accommodation like bed and breakfasts while the cost to the public purse soars.

“The only way to bring down these costs is to protect the safety net that stops more of us spiralling down into homelessness, and to build the affordable homes we desperately need.”

Last month the EADT revealed that homelessness applications to the council had quadrupled since 2010, and that only a handful of one-bedroom houses are assigned every fortnight as around 750 people wait for such accommodation.

Mr Warby, who sits on a council panel looking at solutions for homelessness, also criticised the cost of private renting in Bury St Edmunds.

“A two-bedroom house in Etna Road is £1,200 a month,” he said at a meeting on Wednesday.

“How do they expect young people working, with the average wage in Bury, to be able to afford that? You might as well get a mortgage.

“I think we need to look at that before telling people ‘get yourself on the private housing list’.”

Liz Watts, one of two directors for the West Suffolk partnership between St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath, said the council is examining cheaper alternatives.

She said: “At the moment, if we can’t find temporary accommodation for them, we need to place them in bed and breakfast.

“Would it be a better option for somebody else, maybe a housing association or even the council, to rent a house and use it as temporary accommodation?

“That might be a better solution for the homeless, and also financially better for the council.”



Police closed Felixstowe Road, Ipswich.

A man has been taken to hospital after the motorcycle he was riding collided with a van.

The accident has closed the road

A lorry driver became trapped in his vehicle after it overturned on the A1071 at Hintlesham this afternoon.

Andrew Shemming, daughter Annabelle and their dog Puzzle

She’s called Puzzle, and it is hoped the lovable Labrador will live up to her name by solving some Suffolk mysteries.

Martlesham police investigation centre

Four men arrested following the armed robbery of a Felixstowe bookmaker’s shop will not be prosecuted, police have said.

A familiar sight this year. Roadworks at the junction of Handford Road and Portman Road in Ipswich.

Temporary traffic lights were back at the junction of Portman Road and Handford Road again today . . . for the 17th time since November last year.

Police cordon off Rose Lane after the incident

A man and a woman are due to appear in court after being accused of grievous bodily harm on a young man in Ipswich town centre.

All services through Colchester are affected

All train services travelling through Colchester are facing severe disruption after the fire alarm was activated in a signal box.

Carolyn winning the Suffolk New College make-up competition in 2002.

From Hadleigh to Hollywood, Carolyn Roper has brushed shoulders with acclaimed actors, sporting legends and pop superstars.

Ipswich Hospital on Heath Road, Ipswich.

Ipswich’s hospital had its busy day of the year yesterday for admissions.

Ofsted has published its annual review of schools

Suffolk’s primary schools are outperforming the county’s secondaries, according to figures released today by Ofsted.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Suffolk's trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the Ipswich Star e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24