Plymouth City Council's £15million plan to ease the housing crisis

  • Watch Sam Blackledge's report on plans to tackle the housing crisis in Plymouth.

Plymouth City council has vowed to take urgent action to tackle the growing housing crisis.

The council has agreed its budget for the coming year, which will include £15million set aside to buy up properties as an alternative to B&Bs and hotels for people at risk of homelessness.

Record numbers of people are now in temporary accommodation and the director of a leading housing charity has told ITV News the city needs a radical solution.

PATH director Mike Taylor says the crisis is worsening. Credit: ITV News

Mike Taylor, who runs PATH (Plymouth Access to Housing) said: "We are in a really difficult time in terms of people just getting access to housing.

"We're seeing more and more working people, single people, families presenting as homeless because they can't afford what a couple of years ago people could afford. It feels like the rug is being pulled from under people.

"Local authorities are working with with us, charities, service providers and really trying to look at answers in terms of temporary accommodation and longer term accommodation, including looking to buy more property."

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Council leader Tudor Evans said: “Times are indeed tough for everyone. But we need to focus on what is important.

“We have listened to the feedback from residents and in our recent budget consultation, people recognised that we all have a duty to ensure that the most vulnerable – our children, older people or those who are homeless – are protected. Unfortunately, those are the exact areas we are seeing the most financial pressure.

“What I can promise is that whilst we all tighten our belts, we will continue to lobby hard for what is right and fair for Plymouth and most importantly we are ambitious. We will strive to put the city on the map."

The council agreed a council tax rise of 4.99 per cent, the maximum allowed without triggering a referendum.

Cllr Evans said: "No one wants to put up council tax, but we have no choice.

"Our budget for next year aims to protect frontline, visible services that Plymouth residents value, such as more grass cutting in residential areas, tackling potholes, street cleaning and it allocates the funding needed to meet the rising demand for our social care and homelessness services that protect the most vulnerable in our community."