Ministers have been accused of ignoring the plight of the homeless as new figures showed a sharp rise in the number of people sleeping rough on the streets of England.
Local authorities estimated on a single night in autumn 2016 there were 4,134 rough sleepers compared to 3,569 the previous year – an increase of 16 per cent – according to figures compiled by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
The number of people sleeping rough is now more than double the number there were in 2010 when it was estimated at 1,768.
For Labour, shadow housing secretary John Healey described the figures as a “national scandal” and said Government policies were to blame for the increase.
“It is a national scandal that in England in the 21st century the number of people forced to sleep rough on our streets is spiralling upwards – and this is only the tip of the iceberg,” he said.
“These figures are a terrible reminder of the consequences of Conservative ministers’ seven years of failure on housing.”
Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said the figures were an “utter disgrace”.
“Britain is one of the richest places on earth. It is a stain on our nation’s conscience that thousands of people are still sleeping rough on the streets every night,” he said.
Picture: File photo dated 18/03/16 of Lucas, a homeless man, holding a sign reading ‘Please help, homeless and hungry’ in Victoria, London, as ministers were accused of ignoring the plight of the homeless as new figures showed a sharp rise in the number of people sleeping rough on the streets of England. (Yui Mok/PA).