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Neath Port Talbot Politics South Wales

Numbers of people in temporary accommodation more than doubled

Harbourside Neath Port Talbot (Pic: Neath Port Talbot Council)

THE NUMBER of people in temporary accommodation in Neath Port Talbot County Borough has more than doubled since the 2019/20 financial year, according to a report heard by local council members.

The figures which were given in an outlook report to council bosses at a cabinet meeting last month, discussed pressure areas they expect to see over the next four years, as part of what is anticipated to be a £48 million worth of budget pressures.

Figures within the report said that the number of people in temporary accommodation had increased from 313 people in 2019/20 to 832 in 2023/24, adding it was estimated that it could increase even further to around 2,233 people by 2027/28.

The report  noted that in terms of cost this would see a required increase to funding for the service going from £2.6 million in 2023/24 to around £4.4 million in 2027/28.

Reasons highlighted for the drastic increase included policy change from Welsh Government which lowered the threshold for qualifying for support from councils, family pressures arising from the cost of living crisis, and a reduction in affordable accommodation in the private rented sector.

The report read: “In terms of service pressures, the most recent data suggests that demands in many areas of the Council continue to be at increased volume and in many instances increased complexity.”

The shocking figures came as the council discussed its short and medium-term financial outlook, highlighting how the 2024/25 budget was likely to be “a challenging exercise” with even greater difficulties expected over the next four years.

Other pressure areas anticipated for the Independent-run authority in the coming years, included an increase in the need for both children’s and adults social services, as well as  home to school transport and environmental services.

Speaking at the meeting Chief executive of Neath Port Talbot Council, Karen Jones, said the overall picture showed that while demands for services were increasing, their money was reducing.

She said: “Unfortunately over many years now we always end up with a budget gap so we’re looking then at strategies to close the gap, and that usually comprises of ways in which we can raise new income or ways in which we can reduce expenditure to get to a position where we’ve got a balanced budget position.”

The discussions came before the council’s quarterly report which showed their financial position as of June 2023, with an overspend of £2.867 million being reported.