HOUSING chiefs in Argyll and Bute have breached government regulations on the use of temporary accommodation 11 times in the past financial year.

But officials insist that the issue, which sees homeless households using bed and breakfast accommodation, is one which affects many local authorities in Scotland.

A report which went before councillors revealed that under Scottish Government reporting requirements, there were 11 breaches of the Unsuitable Accommodation Order in 2022/23.

The admission was questioned by Mid-Argyll SNP councillor Jan Brown at a meeting of the full council on Thursday, September 28.

After Councillor Brown requested further details, executive director Kirsty Flanagan said: “We have had to use B&B accommodation for 11 households, which the regulators deem as not appropriate.

“It is not ideal, but due to the market, we have had to do it.”

Fergus Murray, the local authority’s head of economic growth, added: “This is something we have to report to Government on, and there is quite increasing pressure on homeless demands across Argyll and Bute.

“Where we are not able to move people on to suitable tenancies, we have sometimes had to put people in temporary accommodation, and it is as temporary as possible.

“It is a moving list, but we have to tell the Government the situation they are facing, despite every effort we are making to get them out of this situation as quickly as possible.”

Councillor Brown then asked: “What do we do about it, and how do the Government react?”

Matt Mulderrig, the council’s development policy and housing strategy manager, said: “An unsuitable accommodation order is relatively new and is to stop B&B accommodation being used, which was fairly widespread.

“We were not doing any of it until a couple of years ago, and now we try to keep it to a minimum. We have a certain amount of temporary accommodation, which is rented flats that we keep available.

“But because of the pressure on the housing system, it varies how many are available.

“We are working at a percentage where we have very little margin, and so it is impossible to completely stop using B&B accommodation.

“We try to work as fast as possible to prioritise these households. I do not have comparative statistics but we are not breaching the order any more than other authorities.

“There is actually not a specific penalty for doing it, other than contacting the local registrar after a certain amount of time. The registrar has been notified and it is something we have to deal with.”

Chief executive Pippa Milne added: “This is an issue that is existing across Scotland. Almost every authority is, from time to time, finding themselves in breach of this and raising concerns.

“The particular pressures for our own housing need and increased demand has been raised but local authorities having this issue. Discussions will continue to raise them.

“But we do our best to minimise it where possible, although having declared a housing emergency we are seeing pressure put on the housing market.”