Councils spend between £10m and £13m a year housing people in B&B and hotel accommodation

According to Scotland on Sunday thousands of Scots have been made refugees in their own country as a result of councils dumping the homeless in neighbouring areas. An investigation by the paper has established that as many as 15,000 homeless Scots have been sent to B&Bs in other parts of the country, sparking allegations that public officials are engaged in 'social cleansing'.

After a freedom of information request by The Scotsman, Midlothian Council revealed it had sent 261 homeless people to hotel accommodation, all in Edinburgh. This cost the council £749,000.

But Midlothian is not the worst case. Clackmannanshire Council, Scotland's smallest local authority, is thought to have the highest proportion of homeless people per capita in the country, largely because officials interpret the law very liberally. A total of 486 people have been sent across the country to B&Bs, hotels and travel lodges, as far away as Glasgow.

Inverclyde Council admitted to the same problem. It said: "Due to the lack of available B&B accommodation within the Inverclyde area, this has resulted in the necessity of making out-of-authority placements to allow the council to fulfil its statutory obligations." Highland Council sent 20 homeless people 200 miles away to Glasgow because "no suitable accommodation could be sourced locally due to demands on bed spaces from the tourist market".

Councils claim shortages of accommodation make the policy necessary, but critics allege local authorities are simply dumping their problem cases on other areas. Glasgow is the main area to which the homeless are sent and Scotland on Sunday has uncovered evidence that the process is exacerbating social tensions and crime in the city.

Scandal of the homeless money-go-round (Scotland on Sunday, 14 October 2007)

15,000 Scots are refugees in own land (Scotland on Sunday, 14 October 2007)