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Homeless Bradford families 'placed in B&Bs illegally'
7:00am Friday 22nd February 2013 in Bradford
Homeless Bradford families are being placed illegally in bed and breakfast accommodation – at a cost of up to £600 a week each to local taxpayers.
The Council is among scores of local authorities being forced to use B&Bs for longer than the six-week legal limit.
The Labour Party, which uncovered the information, described the situation as an “absolute disgrace”, blaming the Government for a toxic mix of welfare cuts and lack of affordable housing.
Guest houses and hotels are meant to be a short-term solution only because of the misery for families with children, with nowhere to cook, play or do homework.
Only last year, ministers insisted only a “small number” of councils were booking B&Bs for longer than the six-week limit. In fact, Labour found 125 that are doing so.
Last night, Bradford Council blamed the “economic climate” for the rising number of families seeking its help to find emergency accommodation.
It acknowledged Bradford also suffered from a shortage of affordable homes, which meant its “purpose-built temporary accommodation” was often full.
However, David Shepherd, the Council’s assistant director for housing, insisted only three families had been in B8Bs for longer than six weeks “at the time the information was requested”.
He said: “We have to make greater use of bed and breakfast accommodation. This is the same as many local authorities across the country.
“Each case needs to be assessed to ascertain whether they need support under homeless legislation or their needs could be met in other ways, such as private rented accommodation.
“The increase in cases means this assessment process is taking longer and, as a result, people are spending more time in temporary accommodation.”
The Council told Labour the use of B&Bs cost up to £600 a week, which Mr Shepherd described as “approximate, based on an average sized family with children.”
Across England, the average maximum weekly spend was £650.