Bed and Breakfast Accommodation

Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 23rd May 2012.

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Photo of Karen Buck Karen Buck Shadow Minister (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

(1) which local authorities have housed families in bed and breakfast accommodation for more than six weeks in the last 12 months;

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of families who have stayed in bed and breakfast accommodation for more than six weeks in the last 12 months;

(3) what estimate he has made of the percentage change in the number of families who have stayed in bed and breakfast accommodation for more than six weeks year-to-year over the last five years;

(4) what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of using bed and breakfast accommodation for homeless households in (a) 2011-12 and (b) 2012-13.

Photo of Grant Shapps Grant Shapps The Minister for Housing

The vast majority of local authorities have no families in bed and breakfast accommodation over six weeks, and the numbers of households with children in bed and breakfast accommodation remain at historically low levels. However, I am concerned that a small number of authorities are placing families in bed and breakfast accommodation beyond the six-week limit.

I have written to 20 local authorities that, between them, account for almost 80% of families in bed and breakfast accommodation for more than six weeks, reiterating the Government's position that this practice is unacceptable, urging them to prioritise elimination of the use of long-term bed and breakfast accommodation for families and offering support from my Department to do so.

The Government have increased levels of funding on homelessness and announced an additional £70 million investment over the last year. We are introducing changes through the Localism Act which will give local authorities increased flexibility to use the private rented sector to meet their homelessness duties and reduce the need for them to place any families in bed and breakfast accommodation.

A table has been placed in the Library of the House. This shows the number of households with dependant children and/or pregnant woman with no other dependants who had been in bed and breakfast accommodation for more than six weeks in the last 12 months at local authority level. It also shows the number of households in that category which had been accommodated pending a review or appeal.

The following table shows, for the last five years, the England totals of households in temporary accommodation with dependent children and/or pregnant woman in bed and breakfast accommodation who had been resident for six weeks or more at the end of each quarter. Some of the households included in the table had been accommodated pending a review of appeal, rather than in the exercise of a duty.

  March June September as at end December
2007 80 100 130 120
2008 160 180 160 100
2009 70 80 130 120
2010 100 160 140 150
2011 200 240 400 450
Note: Numbers of households are rounded to the nearest 10. Source: Quarterly PIE returns

Statistical releases on statutory homelessness are available both in the Library of the House and via the DCLG website:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/housingresearch/housingstatistics/housingstatisticsby/homelessnessstatistics/publicationshomelessness/

Outturn information on local authority expenditure on bed and breakfast accommodation for 2011-12 will be published in November 2012. This level of detailed information is not available for budget estimates.

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