Twenty two people slept rough for the first time every night this summer, figures for London show.

The number of new rough sleepers from July to September this year was 50 per cent higher than in 2018 – and a third higher than last quarter.

A total of 2,069 people spent their first night on the streets, compared with 1,382 people in the same period last year, according to data from the Greater London Authority.

The total number of people sleeping rough over the summer was up 28 per cent on 2018, rising to 3,985.

The data comes from the Combined Homelessness and Information Network, a City Hall funded database managed by rough-sleeping charity St Mungo’s.

Howard Sinclair, the charity’s chief executive, said: “There is a rough sleeping crisis on our streets, not just in London, but across the country. This is a national scandal.

“To learn that more than 20 people slept rough for the first time each night in London over the summer brings the scale of the issue into sharp focus.

“That’s more people alone and on the streets for the first time, exposed to dangers including violence, abuse and serious ill health.”

Mr Sinclair blamed the increase on “the failure of successive governments” to address the causes of homelessness.

He said: “Charities can’t tackle this alone and we urgently need the Government to take bold action and a longer-term view.

“Put back the £1 billion a year that’s been cut from homelessness services over the last decade, increase housing benefit so it covers the cost of rent, fund specialist housing support for non-UK nationals sleeping rough and end this scandal of death and destitution.”

Last week, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan accused the Government of “forcing Londoners onto the streets” because cuts to benefits were leaving people with less money for housing.

But Siobhan Benita, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London, said Mr Khan’s approach had “clearly failed”.

She said: “Fresh action is urgently required. The priority now must be to get more specialist outreach teams on the streets offering mental health and addiction support as well as increasing the number of emergency accommodation shelters. “

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “It is simply unacceptable that anyone should be sleeping on the streets in modern Britain – this does not reflect the country we should be.

“Nationally the number of people sleeping on our streets has fallen for the first time in eight years but there is still much more to do.

“In London we’ve given councils £24.5 million under our Rough Sleeping Initiative to enhance and develop their ability to tackle rough sleeping.”