HOMELESS North-East families are being placed illegally in bed and breakfast accommodation – at a cost of up to £700 a week to local taxpayers.
Five local authorities are among scores across England that are being forced to use B&Bs for longer than the six-week legal limit.
Labour, 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.
Loading article content
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.
* Darlington – at a weekly cost of up to £350.
* Stockton-on-Tees – at a weekly cost of up to £398.
* Sunderland – at a weekly cost of up to £700.
* Durham and Redcar and Cleveland – although neither of those two councils provided details.
Across England, the average maximum weekly spend was £650 – but the bill for some local councils in the South is an eye-watering £1,500 or more.
Jack Dromey, Labour’s housing spokesman, said: “It is an absolute disgrace that the number of families with children and pregnant women living in bed and breakfasts for months on end has soared.
“The government’s policies are not just causing desperate hardship for those affected, they’re costing taxpayers millions of pounds every week.”
A spokeswoman for Darlington council said four families had been housed in B&Bs for longer than the six-week limit, since 2010.
She said: “In three of these cases, the families had been allocated permanent properties and in the fourth case the family was rehoused out of the area.
“In all four cases, there were unavoidable delays in the properties being ready for occupation.”
Across England, the number of families in B&Bs beyond six weeks has soared by 800 per cent since the 2010 election – to 880.
In December, housing minister Mark Prisk called in councils with high numbers of homeless families in B&Bs to demand action to “address this unacceptable situation”.
And he hit back at criticism by insisting the government had “invested £470m funding to ensure we continue to have some of the strongest protections in the world against homelessness”.
More Darlington News
- Traders describe loss of Darlington's BID as similar to Brexit
- Your Vote: Who are Darlington Football Club's greatest-ever players?
- Police pursuit
- Elite weightlifter holds Darlington tutorial
- Hairdresser 'privileged' as she attends charity tea party at House of Commons
- Darlington: Gray stands by new goalkeeper Bartlett after nightmare debut
- Gainsborough Trinity 3 Darlington 3
- Darlington couple who fell in love over a cream horn celebrate 50 years of marriage
- LIVE: Gainsborough Trinity v Darlington
- Boxing coach who tried to save the life of police officer in London terror attacker speaks of desire to see family
More Durham News
- WATCH: Awards for teenage cadet who saved fellow student who was suffering a seizure
- Durham teaching assistants descend on city in 'show of solidarity'
- County Durham home care service put in 'special measures' after being rated inadequate
- Rowing boat damaged after concrete block thrown from bridge in Durham
- Brandon family distraught after council employee dumps pet cat in landfill
- Homeless drunk had legs amputated after falling into fire - but is still drinking warn alcohol campaigners
- Road resurfacing to cause weekend disruption at busy city road junction
- How to... conduct a wedding ceremony: Josie Armstrong from Durham tells all
- New artwork unveiled as part of project turning eyesore into garden
- Witchcraft and magic class invite
More Stockton News
- Developer of country club in Yarm "is about to withdraw"
- Music fans flock to Quadrophenia night at revamped Georgian Theatre
- Bus stop assault leaves man with serious eye injury
- Yarm lecturer opens hellebore garden in aid of charity that changed her life
- Three men arrested following sixth death linked to bad batch of heroin in Stockton
- Drug dealing son of Benefits Street star is jailed for five years
- Your Pictures: Heavy snowfall hits region causing disruption on roads
- Tees Valley mayoral hopefuls clash at hustings
- Day of action in Stockton to crackdown on anti-social tenants
- 'What have I done? What have I done? It should be me who’s dead' - What uninsured drink and drugs driver said after killing friend