Councils also feel the pinch

One in four councils across England have reported an increase in homelessness, and more than half have experienced a rise in housing benefit claims, the Local Government Association (LGA) claims. Almost all authorities believed the situation would get much worse in the next few months as people lose jobs and homes. Half the local authorities questioned have seen more requests for debt and welfare advice, and the LGA has predicted that the number of people on council house waiting lists will grow from four million to five million by the end of the year.