Ipswich: Revealed - your �600k bill for B&B accommodation

IPSWICH: More than �600,000 was forked out by the borough on providing bed and breakfast accommodation for homeless people over the last five years, figures revealed today.

But the amount spent on B&Bs has fallen by 91 per cent during that period.

Figures obtained by The Evening Star show the council’s spending on the service fell from a staggering �321,000 in 2006/7 to less than �30,000 during the last financial year.

The reduction came during the former Conservative/Liberal Democrat administration at Grafton House. Current group leader John Carnall said the reduction was pleasing.

He was responsible for council finance during the administration and said that the decrease in spending showed the council’s policy to avoid homelessness had worked.

Mr Carnall said: “We introduced a policy of intervening early if possible to avoid the danger of people losing their homes and being forced into homelessness.

“These figures show that policy worked. It is good news on every level – we had to pay out less on bed and breakfast accommodation and of course it meant that fewer people were forced into this desperate situation.”

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The figures, which can be published following a Freedom of Information request by the Star, show that the total spent over the five years, from 2006 to 2011, was �612,250 – but more than half of that was splashed out in the first year.

The Labour Party won power at the borough in May and current deputy leader Neil Macdonald said the figures were encouraging.

He said: “It is good that fewer people have been forced into homelessness – that is particularly bad for families with children.”

However he feared that changes in government support for vulnerable people could lead to an increase in people seeking bed and breakfast accommodation in the future.

n Is enough done to support homeless people? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk