An investigation has revealed that councils are spending £1.1bn on temporary accommodation every year, with 86% going to private landlords or companies.
Housing charity Shelter found that the amount of money being paid to private accommodation providers has nearly doubled in the past five years, from £490m in 2013/14 to £939m in 2018/19.
The findings, which were presented on last night’s BBC’s Panorama programme, shows that at the same time, the number of homeless households living in private temporary accommodation has only increased by 46%, suggesting the charge to councils has risen disproportionately.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: ‘It is sickening that most of this tax-payer money ends up in the pockets of private landlords and letting agents. As we see in our services, this accommodation is often in dire condition, and is horribly unstable by nature. But with nothing else available, hamstrung councils have got to hand over the cash to try and keep people off the streets.
‘We cannot allow these businesses to continue profiting from the housing crisis, while homeless families suffer. With the budget approaching, now is the time for the government to reverse this historic wrong and invest in a new generation of stable social homes.’