A dramatic increase in the amount of money councils spend on temporary accommodation for the homeless is 'shocking yet entirely preventable', according to leading campaigners.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said if governments had built more affordable social homes fewer people would be homeless and we would not be 'wasting vast sums on unsuitable temporary accommodation.'
The latest government figures show councils spent more than £1bn last year on temporary homes, an increase of 9% on the previous 12 months and 78% rise over the previous five years.
More than 30% of the total was spent on emergency B&Bs – £344m – which Shelter says are 'some of the worst places for families with children to live'.
Ms Neate said: 'These figures are a shocking, yet entirely preventable consequence of our housing emergency.
'If consecutive governments had built the genuinely affordable social homes that are needed, fewer people would be homeless, and we would not be wasting vast sums on unsuitable temporary accommodation. 'What’s even more shameful is that so much of this public money is lining the pockets of unscrupulous private landlords, who can charge desperate councils extortionate rates for grim B&Bs, because there’s nowhere else for families to go.'