At least one child in every London classroom is homeless, new analysis finds ahead of Spring Budget

Research by London Councils shows 81,000 children are homeless and in temporary accommodation. Credit: PA

At least one child in every classroom in London is homeless, according to analysis by the capital's boroughs.

Figures compiled by London Councils suggest there are currently 166,000 homeless Londoners living in temporary accommodation within the capital.

Out of these, 81,000 are children, meaning one in every 23 child in London is homeless, according to the cross-party group.

The figures were released ahead of Jeremy Hunt's Spring Budget announcement on Wednesday, as boroughs called for more support for struggling household.

Despite facing calls to increase the Local Housing Allowance and to reform the Right to Buy scheme, very little about housing was mentioned by the chancellor in today's speech.

Research shows the number of Londoners presenting to their councils as homeless increased by 18% in November 2022 compared to the same month the year before.

In December 2022 there were almost 2,000 homeless London families living in B&B accommodation – used as a last resort when more suitable temporary accommodation isn't available.

This is a 25% increase compared to the year before, according to London Councils' figures.

London Councils called for increased Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates to help families through the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Jeremy Hunt delivers his Budget to the House of Commons Credit: House of Commons/PA

The group blames London's homelessness crisis on a severe shortage of affordable accommodation in the capital.

Research also suggests housing affordability for low-income Londoners in the private rented sector has shrunk even further due to increasing rents.

A government freeze on the LHA - imposed in April 2020 - means only 4.2% of London properties are affordable to those relying on LHA to meet their housing costs, boroughs say.

The group says this is a dramatic fall from the 18.7% of properties that were affordable through LHA in 2020-21.

London Councils also demanded an increase in Discretionary Housing Payments used by councils to help residents in financial crisis meet their housing costs.

The group also called for the removal of "unfair" restrictions on Right to Buy sales receipts, which results in much of the money from council house sales directed to the Treasury.

London boroughs would like more control and flexibility over these sales receipts so they can reinvest locally to build replacement homes.

London Councils’ executive member for regeneration, housing and planning, Cllr Darren Rodwell, said: “London’s homelessness crisis is getting even worse.

"The toxic combination of cost-of-living pressures and the chronic shortage of affordable housing means more and more Londoners – especially families with kids – are ending up homeless.

“The situation is unsustainable. Homelessness has a devastating impact on those who experience it, and it also leads to massive costs to councils and the wider public sector.

“We need urgent action from the government. The chancellor must use the Budget to boost support for struggling households and to help us deliver the affordable homes London’s communities are desperate to see.”

London Councils blame the homelessness rate on a severe shortage of affordable housing. Credit: Victoria Jones/PA

Other than increasing the availability of veteran housing, Hunt mentioned little about improving the housing market in his Spring 2023 budget.

However he did hope to help struggling households make ends meet by expanding 30 hours of funded childcare to begin from the time maternity care ends.

That means the 'free' childcare will cover one and two-year-olds as well as three and four-year-olds, in eligible households where all adults are working at least 16 hours a week.In another measure to help families with soaring inflation, the Energy Price Guarantee which limits typical household's annual energy bill to £2,500 will be extended for another three months.

Responding to the budget, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “This is another extremely disappointing Budget for London and for the millions of Londoners struggling desperately to make ends meet during the cost of living crisis.

“Today’s announcement won’t even touch the sides in helping those who are struggling with sky-high energy bills, rents and mortgages, with no substantial increase in funding for affordable housing supply.

"And there was a complete lack of new transport investment for London, which is crucial to support new housing and deliver the growth our economy desperately needs.

“When London succeeds our whole country benefits – but the Government has failed once again to deliver on the funding and investment our capital needs.”

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