FEWER households are living in temporary accommodation since a law was brought in last year to help those on the brink of becoming homeless, figures reveal.

But with nationwide figures at a decade-long high, Shelter has warned that "catastrophic" numbers of people have been shunted onto the streets or trapped in temporary housing .

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government statistics show 145 families and couples lived in bed and breakfasts, hostels and other types of temporary accommodation in Bracknell during the first three months of this year – including 207 children.

This means 2.9 households in every 10,000 were placed in temporary housing.

The figures represent the first full year of data since the Homelessness Reduction Act came into force in April last year.

Since then, there are three fewer households in temporary accommodation.

Over the period, 18 households were secured accommodation for six months or more and were no longer threatened with homelessness.

Across England, the number of families and couples in temporary housing has reached its highest level since 2007.

A disproportionately high share of them are in London – 66% of the total for England.

The capital had 56,280 such households at the end of March, including 88,080 children.

The North East had the fewest, just 330, while there were 8,890 in the South East.

Polly Neate, chief executive of homelessness charity Shelter, said: "While the housing crisis is out of the spotlight, families with young children are trapped in grim temporary accommodation like bed and breakfasts and shipping containers, and young people feel the damaging effects of growing up in a housing emergency.

"Cripplingly expensive private rents, frozen housing benefits, and lengthy waiting lists for social homes are pushing people to the sharp edge of a housing emergency which won’t go away without genuinely affordable homes.

"The Government must invest in a new generation of social homes – 3 million more in 20 years – if they are to pull hundreds of thousands of people out of homelessness. And in the meantime, they must urgently increase housing benefit so that it covers at least the bottom third of private rents."

The Government recently announced £422 million will be spent tackling homelessness and rough sleeping next year, with funding up to £54m in 2020-21, a 13% real terms funding boost compared to the current financial year.

Commenting on the figures, homelessness minister Luke Hall said "progress is being made".

He added: "The Act is helping people earlier so they are not having to experience homelessness in the first place.

"There is still more to do though, which is why we have committed a record investment to ending homelessness and rough sleeping for good.

"This vital funding will ensure progress continues to be made, with people given the help they need to turn their lives around."