Brutal Tory cuts are preventing councils across the UK from properly funding vital services for homeless people, according to a recent survey by the New Local Government Network (NLGN).
A survey of 789 leaders, chief executives and council mayors across the UK, found that councils are massively underspending on preventative services due to cuts in funding from central government.
The NLGN Leadership Index found that councils are currently spending 28% of their resources on homelessness prevention.
However, when asked to estimate what they would ideally be spending on prevention, the figure rises to 47%.
It is estmated that plugging this gap would require an extra £8.7bn funding for local government.
The news will come as a blow to the government which is committed to ending rough sleeping by 2027.
The housing charity Shelter revealed in January that 320,000 people in Britain are homeless and sleeping on the streets or stuck in temporary accommodation, including hostels and B&B’s.
Local authorities have long warned that preventative services were suffering as a result of ongoing austerity.
According to the NLGN, the Early Intervention Grant for councils stood at £3.2bn in 2010 but was cut by more than half to just £1.5bn by 2015.
Meanwhile, spending on public health has been slashed by £900m since 2014.
The National Audit Office warned in a recent report that cuts were forcing councils to focus on providing acute statutory services in social care at the expense of preventative services, including services for homeless people and those at risk of homelessness.
Adam Lent, the Director of the New Local Government Network, said: “The Government’s aspiration to shift towards prevention is admirable but this survey shows that underfunding local government will make that aspiration much harder and probably impossible to achieve.
“It is the height of irrational policy-making to invest £20.5bn in the NHS to enable a shift to prevention while starving councils of the £8.7bn they need to achieve the same goal.”