Homelessness in rural areas has more than doubled since 2018, new research from campaigners has warned.
Analysis by CPRE, English Rural and the Rural Services Network shows that the number of homeless households in rural local authorities increased by 115% in the past two years.
The campaigners argue that the Government needs to invest in more rural social housing, as rural councils are predicting shortfalls of up to 50% in afforsable house building if planning reforms go ahead.
The research reveals that for every 10 new affordable homes built, the economy will be boosted by £1.4m, supporting 26 jobs and generating £250,000 in government revenue.
Martin Collett, chief executive of English Rural Housing Association, said: ‘This research shows both the economic and social value in directing more government investment towards delivering genuinely affordable rural homes. National housing and planning policy for too long has overlooked the needs of the countryside, focusing on urban solutions to rural problems that simply do not work.
'With rural communities left behind as local people, especially younger households, are priced out of the housing market. The pandemic has reminded us how important it is to have balanced communities, where essential workers both live and work.'