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Could cuts see the return of hostels?

November 01 2010
Glasgow‘s huge hostels closed recently, but if the cuts bite...

Homeless hostels could return to Glasgow following UK government plans to cut housing benefits, ministers have been warned.

Along with cuts in benefits paying for private sector flats and bed and breakfast accommodation, the Department of Work and Pensions is planning to reduce allowances for temporary council and housing association flats in April.

The proposals could see Glasgow lose £10 million in housing subsidies and may affect the council's ability to meet homelessness targets if it can't afford to provide temporary accommodation.

Glasgow's large hostels such as the Great Eastern in Duke Street, Bellgrove in Gallowgate and Peter McCann House in Townhead closed recently, but could potentially reopen if the proposed cuts are passed.

Matt Kerr, Glasgow City Council's executive member for social care, said the plans would set back Glasgow's efforts to wipe out homelessness by years: "We have taken steps to improve temporary accommodation, moving people from outdated hostels into supported tenancies in real homes.

"That was the right thing to do, but this proposal will reward that vision with a massive financial penalty.

"It creates a multi-million pound incentive to retain - or even return to - the dismal, failing hostels that Glasgow has fought hard to leave behind. It is confused and ill-considered and amounts to nothing more than crude social vandalism."

In an open letter to councils, welfare reform minister Lord Freud said: "While I recognise that temporary accommodation leasing schemes can attract higher costs, it is important that we protect the taxpayer from inflated rents being met by housing benefit and we drive out value for money from these schemes."