HUNDREDS of children across north Essex were homeless and in temporary accommodation in Tendring at the start of the coronavirus lockdown, figures show.

Housing charity Shelter said it is "unbearable" that tens of thousands of children across England had no permanent home when the pandemic took hold, after the national total hit a 14-year high.

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government figures show 266 children from 109 households were housed in temporary accommodation in Colchester at the end of March – an increase of 6% on the same point last year, when there were 250.

In Tendring there were 199 children from 85 households housed in temporary accommodation and in Braintree there were 50 children from 20 households.

Across England, there were 129,380 children in temporary accommodation on March 31 – the highest number since 2006.

Temporary accommodation may include bed and breakfasts, hostels or other nightly housing.

Shelter describes B&Bs as "some of the worst places for families with children to live", as they often involve entire households living in one small room without cooking facilities.

An MHCLG spokeswoman said: “Every child should have somewhere safe to live, and councils have a duty to provide temporary accommodation to those who need it, including families with children.

“We are committed to supporting homeless families and we have put in place over half a billion pounds to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping over this financial year."