Labour fury as official figures reveal 120,000 kids without permanent homes this Christmas
More than 120,000 children will be in temporary accommodation this Christmas, official figures have revealed.
Some 82,000 families and individuals are currently without a permanent home - a 63% rise since the Conservatives came to power in 2010.
Ministers said their work on housing was "making a real difference" and said they were pumping billions of pounds into schemes.
The Government has been struggling to deal with a housing crisis that has seen rents and house prices pushed up and led to rough sleeping soaring by 170% since 2010.
Some 123,600 children were in temporary accommodation by the end of September this year, with 6,890 families placed in bed and breakfasts.
Many local authorities were meanwhile breaching the law by housing some 900 families in B&Bs beyond the statutory six week limit.
Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey said: “Homelessness fell at an unprecedented rate under Labour, but under the Tories even more children will be homeless this Christmas, with over 80,000 households and 120,000 children now without a home.
“This is a direct result of Conservative decisions to slash investment for affordable homes, cut back housing benefit, reduce funding for homelessness services, and deny protection to 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.”
Lib Dem housing spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said: “It is an absolute disgrace that hundreds of thousands of children are trapped in temporary accommodation.
“The Conservative government’s failure to look after these vulnerable families is a shameful dereliction of duty.”
Terrie Alafat, the chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing said “the fact that more than 120,000 children were living in temporary accommodation in June 2018 is quite simply a national disgrace”.
Greg Beales, campaign director at housing charity Shelter, said the numbers illustrated a "national emergency".
"Every day we hear horror stories about homeless families faced with dirty, cold, and even rat-infested hostels," he lamented.
"Whole families forced to share one room and even beds, and children too scared to leave their block to use the communal bathrooms during the night."
Heather Wheeler MP, Minister for Housing & Homelessness said: “Everyone deserves a safe and secure place to live.
“It is good to see our Homeless Reduction Act making a real difference but we know we need to do more.
“That is why we are investing £1.2bn to tackle all forms of homelessness, we are putting £9bn into our affordable housing programme and we are also empowering councils to borrow to build more council homes to ensure that more people have a home of their own.”