THE Tories have presided over rocketing levels of homelessness with rough-sleeping set to rise by a further 76 per cent over the next 10 years, warns a charity report published today.
The government’s “failed” housing policies, including low investment in affordable homes and cuts to housing benefit, are responsible for the shocking figures, shadow housing minister John Healey said.
Based on research by Heriot-Watt University, the report shows that around 9,100 people were sleeping rough last year, with the number forecast to jump to 16,000 in 2026.
Homeless charity Crisis said 156,000 households — almost a quarter of a million people — were experiencing some form of homelessness.
The charity warned that the number of homeless people had “increased significantly” from 119,000 five years ago. Without action, the number suffering acute forms of homelessness will rise by more than a quarter to 202,200 in the next 10 years, the report warned.
Mr Healey described homelessness in Britain as a “national scandal” and a “terrible reminder of the consequences of Conservative ministers’ seven years of failure on housing.”
“The number of people sleeping rough fell under Labour but has risen every year under the Conservatives and has now doubled since 2010,” he said.
“This is a direct result of decisions made by Conservative ministers: a steep drop in investment for affordable homes, crude cuts to housing benefit, reduced funding for homelessness services, and a refusal to help private renters.”
Local Government Association spokeswoman Judith Blake said there was “no substitute for a renaissance in council house building” and called on the government to allow local authorities to borrow to invest in genuinely affordable homes.
Crisis estimated that such a step could bring down homelessness by as much as 60 per cent.
Publication of the report coincided with the charity launching its “Everbody In” public campaign to bring people together as a “national movement” to end homelessness.
Crisis chief executive Jon Sparkes said: “Unless we take action as a society, the problem is only going to get worse with every year that passes.”