COUNCIL spending on preventing homelessness and supporting homeless people has increased in Newport, Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent, but fallen in Torfaen and Monmouthshire since 2009, a report has shown.

The Wales Audit Office report showed the amount spent on homelessness in Newport increased by 35.6 per cent between 2009 and 2016. Caerphilly's budget increased by 15.1 per cent while the amount spent in Blaenau Gwent also went up by 4.1 per cent over the same period.

But the amount spent in Torfaen dropped by 39 per cent, while the decrease in Monmouthshire was 59.8 per cent - more than half.

Overall the report found councils in Wales are making good progress towards new responsibilities which required authorities to focus on preventing homelessness. But it said more remained to be done to determine why people are becoming homeless.

Auditor general Huw Vaughan-Thomas said: "Local authorities continue to focus on managing people in crisis rather than stopping them getting into crisis in the first place.

"To truly prevent homelessness public bodies need to take a long-term view and work with other organisations to really tackle the issues that cause homelessness."

A Newport council spokeswoman said: “There is a lot of work, which many people don’t see, being done to offer as much support as possible for people who find themselves homeless.

“Working with our partners we look to assist all eligible households to prevent or relieve homelessness on a temporary or permanent basis.”

A Torfaen council spokesperson said its spending had fallen as it had decreased its use of expensive bed and breakfast accommodation.

And a Caerphilly council spokesman said: “We are committed to supporting the needs of homeless people and ensuring appropriate provision is available for those who need it."

Blaenau Gwent council had not responded to request for comment as the Argus went to press.