Rough sleeping soars under the coalition

Rough sleeping up by over a third in last three years
Rough sleeping up by over a third in last three years
Adam Bienkov By

Rough sleeping in England has risen by more than a third since the coalition government came into power, despite David Cameron's promises to tackle the issue.

There were 37% more people spotted sleeping on the streets last year than in 2010, according to government figures released today.

2,414 people were spotted sleeping rough in 2013, up from 1,768 three years before.

The rise in London was slightly less than the rest of the country, with numbers spotted in the capital down slightly in 2013.

Cameron has previously labelled the problem of rough sleeping a "disgrace".

"I think that it is simply a disgrace that in the fifth biggest economy in the world that we have people homeless, people sleeping on the streets, sofa-surfers, people in hospitals," he told the launch of the Conservative Homelessness Foundation in 2008.

Labour today claimed the rise in rough sleeping was a direct result of government policies.

"The prime minister once said homelessness and rough sleeping were a disgrace. But warm words are cold comfort to those sleeping rough if you fail to act," shadow housing minister Emma Reynolds said.

"The government was warned its policies risked increasing homelessness and rough sleeping but these warnings fell on deaf ears.

"What we are seeing now are the direct consequences of David Cameron's failure."

The government deny that policies such as the cuts to housing benefit have contributed to homelessness and rough sleeping.

Speaking on the ITV Agenda programme last night, London mayor Boris Johnson claimed the capital had not seen the mass exodus of people onto the streets that some had predicted.

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