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THE ugly face of Tory Britain was exposed again today as new stats revealed more than 123,000 children living in temporary housing while the number of elderly homeless people soared to its highest level in a decade.
The new data quietly published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government shows the effect that lack of genuinely affordable housing is having on some of the youngest and oldest people in England.
The number of lone-parent families with at least one child living in temporary accommodation rose by 54 per cent in the last five years to 38,390.
The figures revealed that 123,130 children were living in temporary housing in the first three months of this year — enough to fill 470 primary schools — an increase of 80 per cent since the Tories first came to power in 2011, according to Labour.
Single-parent households account for nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of families living in temporary homes despite making up less than a quarter (23 per cent) of all families in England, according to homelessness charity Shelter.
Shelter CEO Polly Neate said: “It’s clear that our country is in the firm grip of a housing crisis as these figures starkly show, with older people and single parents both bearing the brunt.
“Something as simple as a family breakdown can push older people from a shared family home into private renting, yet huge rents and unforgiving welfare cuts mean they lose their homes.
“If we want to protect more people from the ravages of homelessness, the government must come up with a bold new plan for social housing and in the short term, ensure housing benefit covers the actual cost of rents.”
National Pensioners Convention national officer Neil Duncan-Jordan said that older people were not “immune” to the housing crisis and that tens of thousands of homes for social rent needed to be built per year to meet their needs.
He said: “Clearly the private sector is unwilling and unable to meet this challenge and that’s why we need local authorities to start building affordable housing for sale or rent that caters for everyone.”
Shadow housing secretary John Healey said that the statistics should “shame” government ministers.
The ministry's data also shows that rough sleeping in England increased for a seventh year running in 2017.
A total of 4,751 were recorded as having slept on the streets last year compared with 1,768 in 2010, but the true figures are believed to be much higher.
Mr Healey added: “Homelessness fell at an unprecedented rate under Labour, but, after eight years of failure on housing under the Tories, 123,000 children are now without a home.
“This is a direct result of Conservative decisions — a steep drop in investment for affordable homes, cuts to housing benefit, reduced funding for homelessness services and a refusal to help private renters.
“The next Labour government will end rough sleeping within a Parliament and tackle the root causes of rising homelessness with more affordable homes and stronger rights for renters.”
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