Analysis from the LGA reveals that the number of households living in temporary accommodation has risen by 89 per cent over the past decade to 104,000 households at the end of March 2023 – the highest figures since records began in 1998 – costing councils at least £1.74 billion in 2022/23.
Increasing numbers of families are turning to councils for temporary accommodation as homelessness reaches record highs, the Local Government Association warns.
Analysis from the LGA, which represent councils across England, reveals that the number of households living in temporary accommodation has risen by 89 per cent over the past decade to 104,000 households at the end of March 2023 – the highest figures since records began in 1998 – costing councils at least £1.74 billion in 2022/23.
The severe shortage of social housing means councils are being forced to pay to house people in private temporary accommodation, including hotels and B&Bs while they wait for a permanent home. Dwindling supply is further compounded by the rising cost of living and frozen Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates which are driving increases in homelessness and reducing councils’ ability to source suitable accommodation.
The LGA is calling on the Government to use the upcoming Autumn Statement to:
- restore LHA rates to cover the bottom 30th percentile of local rents
- further reform Right to Buy which includes allowing councils to retain 100 per cent of receipts on a permanent basis; flexibility to combine Right to Buy receipts with other government grants; the ability to set the size of discounts locally; and the ability to recycle a greater proportion of receipts into building replacement homes.
- provide a long-term rent deal for council landlords to allow a longer period of annual rent increases for a minimum period of at least 10 years, providing certainty for investment
- provide long-term funding certainty for local government to help councils scale up to deliver an ambitious build programme of 100,000 high-quality, climate-friendly social homes a year
Councillor Darren Rodwell, Housing spokesperson for the Local Government Association, said:
“Councils are under mounting pressure to find suitable homes for an ever-increasing number of people and are doing the best they can under current circumstances.
“A plethora of issues has meant that council budgets are being squeezed and the chronic shortage of suitable housing across the country means that councils are increasingly having to turn to alternative options for accommodation at a significant cost.
“Councils need to be given the powers and resources to build enough social homes for their residents so they can create a more prosperous place to live, with healthier and happier communities.”
Asylum and resettlement schemes are also adding to supply and demand issues. Current programmes involving the increased pace and scale of asylum decisions, closure of hotels for Afghan households and new arrivals from Afghanistan over the next few weeks are now running in parallel with winter pressures, combined with ongoing support for homeless Ukrainian and Afghan households. The clearance of the asylum backlog in particular means increasing risks around destitution and rough sleeping numbers.
Cllr Rodwell, continued:
“Councils have a proud history of supporting humanitarian efforts and continue to work hard to protect and support refugees and help deliver a wide range of government asylum and resettlement schemes.
“However, combined pressures from these many schemes are growing on councils and there continues to be a crisis across the refugee and asylum system. This is being compounded by a housing crisis, the pace and scale of asylum decision making and the rapidly approaching deadline for all remaining Afghan families to move on from hotels by the end of the year.”
Notes to Editors
The LGA’s Autumn Statement submission warns that councils in England face a funding gap of £4 billion over the next two years. In its submission to the Chancellor, the LGA said the Government needs to provide immediate funding so councils can deliver the 2023/24 budgets they set this year and ensure that councils have sufficient resources to set balanced budgets next year without having to make drastic cuts to services.
It is accompanied by appendices on key areas of council activity that are experiencing sharp financial and/or demand pressures (adult social care, children’s services and housing and homelessness support).
- The LGA is calling for the Government to go further and faster in order for councils to be able to properly resume their historic role as a major builder of affordable homes by implementing a six-point plan for social housing.