Cash boost of £75k to help homeless

20/1/10 'Andrew Williams, leader of Dacorum Council, meets the financial advisers at Dacorum Horizons, Hemel Hempstead
20/1/10 'Andrew Williams, leader of Dacorum Council, meets the financial advisers at Dacorum Horizons, Hemel Hempstead

COUNCIL chiefs are pumping an extra £75,000 into bed and breakfast accommodation as the number of homeless people rises in the economic downturn.

The cash injection brings the total set aside for emergency accommodation to more than £122,000, a meeting of Dacorum Borough Council’s cabinet was told during a discussion of the budget.

Director of finance Sally Marshall told councillors: “It’s become increasingly clear that the impact of the economic climate is starting to take a call on our homelessness budget.”

Meanwhile, councillors agreed a zero increase in council tax but increases in car park prices, waste collection costs, fees for taxi licences and hire of adventure playgrounds and the Old Town Hall.

Council house rents will increase by between 7.92 per cent and 9.27 per cent while garage rents will go up by 10p a week.

However, £300,000 has been set aside over two years to boost the Maylands Business Park, £200,000 to promote tourism and £160,000 for the Jubilee and the Olympics.

A further £425,000 will be spent on preparatory work for the redevelopment of Hemel Hempstead Civic Centre site.

Leader of the council Andrew Williams said: “This has been a very calm budget. It’s another year of council tax freeze, we’ve been able to invest in some important areas and it’s another year of no change in frontline services.

“Many councils would be very envious of being able to do those three things.”

The meeting was told the deal done to retain council housing rather than sell it to a housing association provided an ‘exciting opportunity’ to build new homes.