The amount of people sleeping rough in Gloucestershire has increased, with an increase in the Cotswolds.

Charities have cautiously welcomed the news that the number of people bedding down outside across England has fallen for the second consecutive year, but warned urgent social housing investment is needed to heal the "gaping wound" of homelessness across the country.

New official figures released today by the Government show the number of rough sleepers in the Cotswolds had risen to 7 from 5 in autumn 2019 compared to the same period the year before.

In the Cotswolds, all of the rough sleepers recorded last autumn were male. All were UK citizens.

The Government issues the official figures throughout the year, based on a one-night snapshot, so there may be more rough sleepers in Gloucestershire which weren’t recorded.

Local authorities across England estimated there were 4,266 people sleeping rough on the same night last autumn.

This was a 9 percent decrease from the previous year when 4,677 rough sleepers were counted, however, the total is still 2,498 higher than in 2010 – an increase of 141 percent.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of homeless charity Crisis, said: “It’s great news to see any reduction in the numbers of people rough sleeping – fewer people sleeping on our streets means fewer people exposed to exploitation, extreme weather and the threat of violence.

"But unless we see people being offered homes, not hostels, we know from experience that people will return to the streets.

“To truly end rough sleeping, the Government must recognise the intolerable pressure many in society are under with low incomes, high rents and a lack of affordable housing pushing people into homelessness.

"The reality is that this problem will persist until we build the social homes we desperately need and restore housing benefit to a level where it covers the cost of rents.”