ONE in every 37 homes in Brighton and Hove is empty, according to the latest government figures.

Data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government shows there were 3,496 unused homes in Brighton and Hove as of October, up from 3,084 in 2019.

Of these, 1,413 were long-term vacancies, unoccupied for at least six months, while 2,083 were second homes.

It means one in every 37 homes in the city were out of use – which is higher than the average number across England, at one in 47.

READ MORE: Figures show fifth of Brighton homes bought by Londoners

An analysis of the figures was carried out by campaign group Action on Empty Homes, who described the findings as "exceptionally worrying".

The Argus:

Across England, more than half a million homes were found to be lying unused, while tens of thousands of families are living in temporary accommodation.

There were 268,000 long-term empty homes across the country – 19 per cent more than the previous October, which is the biggest annual increase since current records began in 2004.

A further 263,000 are classed as second homes which are not in residential use long-term, and are not charged extra council tax when they are unused.

Action on Empty Homes said that the 531,000 properties without residents should instead offer "vitally needed housing" to the homeless.

Director Will McMahon said: “It can’t be right that in the last four years we have seen an escalating housing crisis while the number of long-term empty homes keeps rising.

"There are over 100,000 children languishing in overcrowded and temporary accommodation at a time when we know that overcrowded housing is being linked to the spread of the coronavirus and to higher mortality.

The Argus:

"It will be impossible to ‘build back better’ if we keep letting our housing crisis get worse."

Separate figures show there were 59,400 families, including 120,600 children, in temporary accommodation across England as of September.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “We have given councils powers and strong incentives to tackle empty homes, including the power to increase council tax by up to 300 per cent on these properties, and take over the management of homes that have been empty for a long period.

“They also receive the same New homes bonus for bringing an empty home back into use as for building a new one.”