OXFORDSHIRE councils have spent over £270,000 since the start of 2017 paying for homeless people to stay in budget hotels.

Hundreds of people have been allocated temporary accommodation by their councils across the county, potentially ‘locked’ into poverty by expensive housing costs and low pay.

Cherwell District Council said it had used Travelodges in Aylesbury, Milton Keynes and in Birmingham to house people. It has also used other hotels in Bicester, Kidlington and Banbury.

It said it owns 35 ‘self-contained units of temporary accommodation’ for ‘emergency placements’.

Responding to a Freedom of Information request, it said it has spent over £192,691 between January 2017 and March 2018 paying for housing people in temporary accommodation it owns and in rented rooms.

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Council said they had regularly booked out rooms at Premier Inns and Travelodges, some as far as Aylesbury and Reading, for residents since January 2017.

The councils also have temporary accommodation in Faringdon, Abingdon, Wantage, Wallingford, Didcot and Thame.

South Oxfordshire said it had spent £37,388 from January 2017 until last month putting up people, while Vale of White Horse shelled out slightly more, £44,199.

As reported in the Oxford Mail yesterday, Oxford City Council said it does not use hotels unless forced to as a ‘last resort’.

Joannne Barrett, Cherwell’s joint housing manager, said: “The Housing Team continue to manage temporary accommodation closely and work hard to ensure the time spent in temporary accommodation is minimised and that permanent, sustainable housing solutions are found as soon as possible.

"This has enabled the number of households in temporary accommodation to remain at or below our target of 43."

A spokesperson for South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils said: “Our housing needs team work very hard to support and seek alternative solutions for local families.

"For the last financial year, our figures show we have further reduced hotel expenditure across both councils by 28 per cent. This is despite a shortfall in housing across the south east and an increase in demand for accommodation nationally.”