Homelessness in MK is costuing the council £21,000 a DAY, the Citizen can reveal.
And this week, as the appalling statistic came to light, Labour councillors were going head-to-head with city MP Mark Lancaster in a dispute about how to solve the crisis.
The MP’s solution is for the council to set up its own private company to build more houses.
Lead housing councillor Nigel Long had urged Mark Lancaster to fight to lift the government-imposed ban on the council building more homes.
He wanted to use revenue from housing to build more affordable and social housing in MK.
Mr Lancaster’s response was to suggest a detailed alternative plan – that has infuriated Labour.
The MP said: “Rather than rely on central government intervention, the 2011 Localism Act gave local authroties the power to address local housing demands by establishing private companies.”
He added: “We question why MK Council does not follow other Labour run councils in pursuing innovative ways of providing new homes instead of its current attempt to turn a serious issue into a political football.”
Councillor Long has now written a scathing letter of complaint to housing minister Gavin Barwell.
“It is outrageous that we are spending £21,000 a day to pay landlords,” said Councillor Long.
“I want to know if the government supports Mr Lancaster’s view that councils, through arm’s length companies, should be able to borrow to invest outside of the public’s spending regime.”
Who is benefitting from money spent on MK homelessness?
What is MK Council’s Labour administration asking the government to do?
Councillors want the cap on borrowing for affordable house building to be removed. They also want to be allowed to keep 100 per cent of capital receipts from the saleof council houses, so this money could be reinvested into new homes.
What is Local Housing Allowance and what does MK Council think the government should do about it?
Local Housing Allowance is the ceiling figure on how much benefit agencies can pay towards private rent for low income families.
Labour say “a major reason” for MK’s homelessness crisis is the effect of the LHA housing benefit cap on such households.
Who has benefitted from the £7.5m –£21k per day – spent last year by MK Council on temporary accommodation for homeless people?
Private landlords, hotel owners and people who run Bed and Breakfast establishments – although the latter is being used less and less by MK Council.
What is the next step in the dispute between councillors and the MP?
Mr Lancaster said: “The next step would be to facilitate a further meeting between MKC and DCLG to see what can be done to facilitate a sensible way forward for MK.”
Cllr Long said: “I’d welcome clarification of the government’s position on Mr Lancaster’s support for council house building.”
st of whom are in work.
“This reflects the lack of affordable housing in Milton Keynes.