Brighton and Hove City Council was accused of having “quietly moved over 130 homeless people into Eastbourne hotels” in Parliament last week.
Caroline Ansell, the Conservative MP for Eastbourne, raised the matter at Business Questions on Thursday (1 October).
She said: “Last month, it came to light that a neighbouring council, Brighton and Hove, had, without any consultation with Eastbourne Borough Council, quietly moved over 130 homeless people into Eastbourne hotels.
“Those who it had moved along the coast in this way could not possibly be cared for at arm’s length by Brighton and Hove, nor could they be properly cared for in Eastbourne, unprepared and unaware as we were.
“Could we debate the framework that sits behind the way in which local councils operate together to consider whether aspects that are currently considered good practice might need to be raised to the level of a duty to make sure that a sorry situation such as this does not repeat itself?
The Conservative Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, said: “This is an example, is it not, of what goes wrong when the hard left are in charge?
“The homelessness legislation guidance sets out that in the first instance local authorities should try to place homeless households within their own area and when this is not possible they should place them as near as possible to the original local authority area.
“We are clear that local authorities should, as far as possible, avoid placing households outside their borough.
“We are aware that, on occasion, in some areas where there is a limited supply of suitable accommodation, it is necessary to place households in temporary accommodation outside the local area, but this should be a last resort.
“If a local authority places a household in accommodation in another local authority area, it is required to notify that local authority of any placement.
“My honourable friend is right to raise this issue and to put pressure on the relevant local council to do better.”
In November 2015 the Greens accused Brighton and Hove City Council of “social cleansing” as part of the council’s response to welfare benefit cuts.
The claim was made after the council said that its response to benefit cuts “may include providing advice about which areas of the country are affordable to live in”.
The latest moves are understood to be driven, in part, by pressure to house rough sleepers and other homeless people quickly during the coronavirus pandemic, without having enough suitable places available in Brighton and Hove.
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