Homelessness reaches five year high as 4,500 families are forced to live in bed and breakfasts

 

Social Affairs Correspondent

The number of people forced to live in temporary bed and breakfast accommodation has soared by 14 per cent in the last year, official figures for England show.

Homelessness has reached a five year high, according to government statistics released Thursday, with more than 53,540 households declared homeless during the last financial year.

Some 4,500 households are now living in B&Bs, with whole families often left in a single room with no cooking facilities.

The number being housed far from home has also risen by 14 per cent, as 9,000 of the households in temporary accommodation on 31 March 2013, were made to stay in another local authority district.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of the homeless charity, Shelter, said that many families were at “breaking point”. He added: “Behind these numbers are thousands of families up and down the country who have lost the battle to stay in their homes. In these tough times more and more people are struggling to pay their housing costs, but changes to housing benefit mean the safety net that prevents families from losing their homes if they become ill or lose their job is no longer sufficient to catch them.”

Labour’s shadow housing minister, Jack Dromey, said: “The Government’s failure to tackle the housing crisis is having tragic consequences for Britain’s families. The number of families without a roof over their head has risen every year David Cameron has been in power.”

Housing Minister Mark Prisk yesterday blamed individual local councils for the rise, pointing out that 80 per cent of the 760 cases of families housed in B&Bs for 6 weeks or more came from just 16 councils.

Prisk announced £1.8m of funding for councils to tackle the problem, saying: “There’s a huge variation in how councils help the homeless, especially when it comes to finding them a stable home. Some councils are already doing great work but it’s clear we need to spread this best practice across all councils.”

His words were received with derision from Labour, however. Dromey said that Prisk was trying to “wash his hands” of the issue, adding: “The crisis of housing and homelessness has been made in Whitehall, not England’s town halls”.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...