An Edinburgh councillor has accused the city council of putting a £17.5m "sticking plaster" on the capital's homeless B&B crisis.

Councillor Susan Rae, who herself has had to stay in a homeless B&B, told how Edinburgh City Council's reliance on B&B hostels to house the capital's homeless is "heading in completely the wrong direction".

It comes after a homelessness charity recently hit out at the local authority for breaking the law on the amount of time families are spending in B&Bs.

The council promised to halt the process months ago but the number of nights spent in B&B accomodation has risen to nearly 120,000 this year.

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Last month figures revealed that the number of bed nights in B&Bs increased from 105,157 during the first six months of the 17/18 financial year to 119,497 over the same period this financial year.

B&Bs should only be used for families in an emergency for up to seven days.

But figures show that these numbers have been stretched, with some people being shipped out of the city to B&Bs in Motherwell, Stirling and Falkirk.

Councillor Rae said: "One of the council's big aims is to end the use of bed and breakfast hotels for homeless people. However, in the last six months alone, bed and breakfast use has soared by 14% to almost 120,000 bed-nights, some as far as away as Motherwell and Livingston. This is not so much missing the target as heading in completely the wrong direction. 

"This comes at a human cost. Bed and breakfast is the worst form of accommodation for homeless people and offers zero foundation on which to rebuild lives. But it is also at huge financial cost: with temporary accommodation as a whole costing £17.5 million a year. That is £17.5m of a sticking plaster which could be funding new homes."

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She added: "Fundamentally, Edinburgh needs far more genuinely affordable homes of course. But right now there is a crisis which needs a complete overhaul of the way homelessness is prevented and the systems which get people swiftly into the homes which are available."

The accomodation crisis has largely been blamed on the lack of homes in the city.

Edinburgh City Council are aiming to build 20,000 new affordable homes over the next decade.

More immediate measures include encouraging private landlords to lease extra properties and seeking the power to regulate the number of short-term lets.

Kate Campbell, chairwoman of the city's homelessness task force, insists progress has been made but it still isn't good enough. 

She said: "Importantly, the length of time that families are spending in B&Bs has come down a huge amount.

"It was around six weeks for some of the worst cases we'd heard about and that's come down to under two. So that has made a difference. It's not good enough and we still have a lot of work to do."