Beds, Herts & Bucks

Milton Keynes 'illegal' housing for homeless nearly doubles

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Media captionOne family are trying to look after a new born child while living in a hotel

The number of families being illegally housed in bed-and-breakfasts by Milton Keynes Council has nearly doubled this year, government figures show.

Up to the end of March, it housed 35 families in temporary accommodation for longer than the statutory six weeks, but this rose to 60 by the end of June.

The council said it was looking to at least halve this by spring 2014, using one-bedroom flats for small families.

Housing Minister Mark Prisk said there was "no excuse" for unlawful housing.

The authority said the problem had been caused by a decrease in the supply of houses and an increase in those requiring them. It said the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) was aware of its issues.

A council spokeswoman said it was doing everything it could to reduce the numbers.

'Bid for funding'

Councillor Edith Bald said of the 60 families reported at the end of June, 10 of them had been housed in one-bedroom flats during the past three months.

"We did make a bid for additional funding to try and increase the housing supply from the private sector to help but unfortunately that bid was turned down," she said.

"Nevertheless, we are continuing to take action ourselves, we are looking very carefully at the private sector housing supply [private rentals] to increase the numbers [of houses] available."

Mr Prisk said the "law is clear" and families must only be placed in bed-and-breakfast accommodation as a last resort.

"The vast majority of councils are able to house local families effectively, so there is simply no excuse for any family to be stuck in this unlawful accommodation for long periods of time," he said.

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