Homeless rise ‘driven by welfare reforms’

Image caption Reforms to the local casing allowance are “likely to have contributed” to homelessness, says the NAO

The number of homeless families in the UK provides risen by more than 60% and it is “likely to have been driven” with the government’s welfare reforms, the public investing watchdog has said.

Homelessness of all kinds has increased “significantly” during the last six years, said the Nationwide Audit Office.

This accused the government of having a “light touch approach” to tackling the issue.

The government said it had been investing £ 550m by 2020 to address the issue.

There is a 60% rise in households residing in temporary accommodation – which includes 120, 540 children – since 2010/11, the NAO said.

A snapshot overnight count final autumn found there were 4, 134 rough sleepers – an increase associated with 134% since the Conservatives came into authorities, it added.

Four-year freeze

A written report by the watchdog found rents in britain have risen at the same time as families have seen a cut to some advantages.

Homelessness cost more compared to £ 1bn a year to deal with, this said.

Reforms towards the local housing allowance are “likely to have contributed” to making it more costly for claimants to rent for yourself and “are an element of the embrace homelessness, ” the report additional.

Welfare reforms introduced by the government in 2015 integrated a four-year freeze to casing benefit – which was implemented within April 2016.

Auditor General Sir Amyas Morse stated the Department for Work plus Pensions had failed to evaluate the influence of the benefit changes on homelessness.

“It is hard to understand why the department persisted using its light touch approach in the face of this type of visibly growing problem.

“Its recent performance within reducing homelessness therefore cannot be regarded value for money. ”

‘National scandal’

The particular ending of private sector tenancies – rather than a change in private circumstances – has become the main reason for homelessness in England, with numbers tripling since 2010/11, said the NAO.

Its analysis discovered private sector rents in England have got gone up by three times as much as income since 2010 – apart from within the north and East Midlands.

While in London, costs possess risen by 24% – 8 times the average wage increase.

Councils spent £ 1 ) 1bn on homelessness in 2015/16 – with £ 845m likely to pay for temporary accommodation, the NAO said.

It discovered that local authorities in London have been purchasing properties outside the capital to house households.

Labour MP Meg Hillier, who chairs the Public Balances Committee, said: “It is a nationwide scandal that more and more people are made destitute every year.

“This reviews illustrates the very real human price of the government’s failure to ensure individuals have access to affordable housing. ”

The Local Government Association — which represents councils – mentioned local authorities were having to house “the equivalent of an extra secondary school’s worth of homeless children within temporary accommodation every month. ”

“The net cost in order to councils of doing this has tripled within the last three years, as they plug the distance between rising rents and freezing housing benefit. ”

It called on the government to aid councils by allowing them to invest in developing affordable homes and “provide the particular support and resources they need to assist in preventing people becoming homeless in the very first place”.

‘Safety net’

Homelessness charitable organization Shelter said it wants the federal government to end the freeze on casing benefit and commit to building inexpensive homes.

The government mentioned tackling homelessness was a “complex issue” but it was determined to help one of the most vulnerable in society.

It said it was implementing the particular Homelessness Reduction Act which “means more people get the help they require earlier to prevent them from getting homeless in the first place”.

A spokesman added: “Our welfare reforms restore fairness towards the system with a strong safety net in position to support the most vulnerable, including £ 24bn through the housing benefit.

“There’s more to do to ensure people always have a roof more than their head and ministers may set out further plans shortly, which includes delivering on our commitment to eliminate tough sleeping entirely. ”

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