Labour hits out at 'scandal' of homelessness under the Tories


Labour has hit out at the "scandal" of homelessness under the Tories, after fresh figures showed vulnerable groups had been hit particularly hard.

Figures uncovered by shadow housing minister John Healey show drastic increases in homelessness among people with disabilities, mental health problems and dependent children.

This coincides with a 41% rise in homelessness cases accepted by local authorities since the Tories came to power in 2010.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) says the Government is committed to helping the most vulnerable, and is investing more than £550 million to tackle homelessness.

But Mr Healey said: "It's a scandal that after six years of failure on housing, falling homelessness under Labour has turned into rising homelessness under the Tories.

"Since 2010 homelessness has risen dramatically on all fronts, with almost 60,000 households becoming homeless last year.

"These figures show that some vulnerable groups have been particularly hard hit.

"Ministers urgently need to get a grip, back Labour's plans to end rough sleeping and build thousands more affordable homes."

DCLG statistics unearthed by Mr Healey show more than 41,000 families with children are due to be accepted as homeless this year - a 62% increase on 2010.

Around 4,200 people with physical disabilities will be accepted as homeless this year, as will 5,300 people with mental illness.

Compared with 2010, this represents a 49% and 53% rise respectively.

The number of older people accepted as homeless has also risen over the same time frame, by around 20%.

A DCLG spokesman said: "This Government is committed to supporting the most vulnerable in our society and ensuring our country works for everyone.

"That's why we're investing over £550 million to tackle and reduce homelessness, on top of supporting Bob Blackman's Homelessness Reduction Bill to prevent more people from becoming homeless in the first place."

The number of people found to be homeless is down by 58% from the 2003 peak, while the number of households accepted as homeless fell by 1% in the last quarter compared with the previous one.