Aberdeenshire Council’s temporary accommodation bill tops £7m in six years
A north-east MSP has called on the Scottish Government to do more to help Aberdeenshire Council build more homes after new figures revealed that local authority has spent almost £7 million putting homeless people into temporary accommodation in the last six years.
The statistics, which were released in response to a freedom of information request and published by The Press and Journal, show the money spent putting people into B&Bs, hotels and other properties after they first register as homeless.
The vast majority of the bill has been spent in the Banff and Buchan area with £4,823,086 out of the £6,837,988 total going there.
The biggest beneficiary of this has been Jacamar Properties Ltd with the Fraserburgh-based company having received £756,223 during this time.
Lewis Macdonald, MSP for the north-east region, said the spending “absolutely demonstrates the need for more social and affordable housing”.
He told The Press and Journal: “It’s just under a million pounds a year, imagine if all that money had been spent on building new homes.
“This has taken place over a time when the funding for housing was cut back.
“The Scottish Government needs to work with Aberdeenshire Council to help provide more homes.
“It has a responsibility to the area.
He added: “It is no surprise that the amount spent is higher in Banff and Buchan which area with the poorer income brackets.
“The Scottish Government should invest in this area and not just the central belt.”
An Aberdeenshire Council spokesman said B&Bs had to meet certain standards before people are placed in them.
He told The Press and Journal: “Aberdeenshire Council works with a number of local B&B establishments to provide emergency accommodation to homeless applicants.
“B&B’s must meet temporary accommodation standards and be prepared to work with the authority.
“Homeless applicants are placed in B&Bs until another type of appropriate accommodation can be found.
“This may be a temporary flat or house, or a permanent offer.
“If a homeless duty is accepted then an applicant is added on to the waiting list for permanent accommodation.
“How long this takes is dependent on family size and the area of choice requested and is subject to the allocation policy.”
He also claimed the cost was falling.
He said: “Between 2011/12 to 2016/17 Aberdeenshire Council’s spend on B&B accommodation has reduced by 60% and this reduction is continuing into the current financial year.”