Housing homeless families runs up £1.6MILLION hotel bill for Northampton taxpayer

The borough council spent 1.6million on hotels for homeless families between April and December last year.
The borough council spent 1.6million on hotels for homeless families between April and December last year.

Housing homeless Northampton families in hotels cost the taxpayer over £185,000 a month last year.

Expenditure reports for 2017 show how the borough council spent £1.6million on hotels for homeless families between March and December last year.

Tens of thousands of pounds at a time were paid out to hotels, lodges and guest houses in 2017 as the council "struggled" to deal with a huge backlog of homelessness applications.

But a report presented to cabinet in September said £50,000 a month was being spent on B&Bs as of August 2017, on average £100,000 short of the real figure.

In the same meeting, officers told cabinet that between March 2016 and September 2017, over 200 homeless households had been put up by the council, including 87 cases living in B&Bs.

Councillor Zoe Smith, shadow member for homelessness in the borough council, said: "I'm surprised that the costs are that high, especially when some of the hotels are out of the borough. Homeless families should not leave the borough.

"It does indicate that people are staying in temporary accommodation like hotels and B&Bs longer than they should be. I would put it at eight weeks as an upper limit."

The single largest payout to a £74,000 bill by U K Room National Ltd last June. Meanwhile, an average of £50,000 a month was paid to Bangau Ltd - a hotel company based in Wellingborough, outside the town.

In January, borough council reported they had reduced the number of households in B&Bs by a third and had brought their outstanding caseload under control, down from 205 to 66.

Northampton Borough Council has been approached for a comment.