THE AMOUNT spent on providing bed and breakfast accommodation for the homeless has been nearly quartered in a year.

Money spent on providing temporary B&B shelter by Bracknell Forest Council (BFC) peaked at £488,036 in the 2015/16 financial year, a 5,900 per cent increase in six years once inflation is taken into account.

In 2016/17 however, £129,197 was paid putting people up in B&Bs across the borough, a Freedom of Information request revealed.

Councillor Dale Birch, lead member for housing, partly attributed the spend reduction to Downshire Homes Ltd, a private company set up by BFC that has invested £13m buying 32 properties for homeless accommodation since 2015.

“The reduction is probably due to Downshire Homes and the number of properties it is able to buy,” he said.

“It is also down to Tenterden Lodge, a guesthouse the council bought in Bracknell.

“They all came online at the same sort of time. What Downshire Homes does it very valuable, but it is is part of a much bigger system.”

In the first year of trading Downshire Homes bought 20 properties, 15 to house the homeless and five as shared accommodation for people with learning disabilities.

As well as providing guest house, properties through the company and B&Bs as a last resort, BFC runs a service helping those facing eviction find a place to live.

In 2016/17 MFC rented out rooms in B&Bs Pinehill Rooms, Phillips Accommodation, Bow Guest House and two others the council would not name.

The mode average price for a room - the number that occurs most often - was £55 a night.