Homelessness applications rise
Homeless applicants were up 15 per cent on the same quarter last year, according to government statistics.
Communities and Local Government department figures, released on Thursday last week, show more than 10,870 applicants were accepted as owed a main homelessness duty during October to December 2010. This was similar to the previous quarter.
Households in temporary accommodation on 31 December were 10 per cent lower than the same time last year, at 48,010.
The number of households in bed and breakfast accommodation was up from 1,880 in December last year to 2,310 in December this year, 5 per cent higher. The percentage of households leaving temporary accommodation, who had been in such arrangements for less than six months, has increased from 56 per cent to 66 per cent compared to the same quarter last year.
The CLG data was released on the same day housing charity Shelter highlighted a Council of Mortgage Lenders survey of 1,500 UK homeowners, which suggested one in four people who own their own homes could be unprepared for the costs of rising interest rates.
A quarter of people in the survey believed current interest rates are either higher, the same that they have been in the past or did not know what they were.
Campbell Robb, Shelter’s chief executive, said: ‘It is frightening to think so many homeowners are completely unaware that interest rates are at a record low. We are extremely concerned that millions will be financially unprepared when interest rates go up and won’t have plans in place to manage increased costs.
‘Even for those who have been managing to stay afloat so far, we know only too well that just a small increase in some people’s monthly outgoings will be the trigger that finally pushes them over the edge into a spiral of debt, repossession and possible homelessness.’
The Bank of England’s monetary policy committee met last week to decide whether the current low interest rates should go up, but left the rate at 0.5 per cent for another month.