There has been a “shocking” rise in the number of homeless children living in temporary accommodation across Britain, according to the latest government figures.
The number of homeless children who will spend Christmas in lodges and inns has grown by over 10 percent since last year to 124,000, according to data released by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
The data also reveals a rise of more than 300 percent since 2014 in the number of families in England who are being housed illegally in bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) for staying longer than the legal limit of six weeks, because they cannot find any alternative places.
Shelter, Britain’s leading charity for the homeless, has described the numbers of children forced into temporary housing as "shocking.”
Campbell Robb, Shelter’s chief executive, said: "The latest figures show that councils are increasingly struggling to help homeless families. He blamed a "perfect storm” of welfare cuts and rising rents, together with a lack of social and affordable housing that was creating impossible pressure for local authorities.
"The number of children placed in B&Bs illegally is truly shocking, and there’s a worrying rise in families moved away from their support network to a new area. We know first-hand the devastating impact this can have on their lives,” Robb said.
"Welfare cuts have made private rents unaffordable and that – combined with unpredictable rent rises and a lack of genuinely affordable homes - mean many families are struggling to get by,” he said.
The figures reveal that the number of children across all of Britain who are homeless and living in temporary accommodation has reached 124,000. In the same period last year, the figure was 109,000.
Earlier this month, Shelter warned that the number of homeless people in the UK is rapidly rising and thousands risk losing their lives as winter approaches.
Homelessness is at its highest rates in central London, with as many as one in 25 without a home in Westminster and one in 27 with nowhere to live in Newham, the recent analysis shows.
Britain has been pushing painful austerity measures since 2010 to cap its budget deficit, targeting key benefits helping the homeless.