The number of families in Tower Hamlets having to live in bed and breakfast accommodation has doubled in the past year.

Homelessness charity Shelter called the revelation “tragic”, as Tower Hamlets Council revealed figures this month showing the number of families in the borough having to be put up in hotels for more than six weeks rose from 49 in 2014 to 106 so far in 2015.

The council insisted it was doing all it could to help the families affected, claiming a homefinder scheme would help those in need of a home.

Also online: Gap between rich and poor in Tower Hamlets is highest in London

But Kevin Garvey, policy officer at Shelter , said: “It’s a tragic consequence of our housing crisis that homeless families are being left to linger in emergency B&B’s for weeks on end, as overburdened councils struggle to find them anywhere else to live.

“Faced with extreme pressure from budget cuts and a severe drought of affordable homes, councils are finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the sheer volume of people desperate for their help.

“It’s clear that deeper cuts to local councils and welfare will only add more fuel to the fire of this growing crisis. The only way for the government to truly break the cycle of homelessness, is to invest in building homes that people on lower incomes can actually afford to live in.”

A council spokesman said: “The cost to the council of placing a family in bed and breakfast accommodation fluctuates significantly depending on the hotel and size of the family being accommodated.

“The council is trying to prevent families getting to the stage where they need to be housed in B&B accommodation. We are doing this through our homelessness prevention work and working with landlords to increase the current stock of temporary accommodation. One way we are increasing temporary accommodation is through the Tower Hamlets Homefinder scheme.

“The scheme offers a one-off, non-refundable cash payments for council-vetted landlords offering Assured Shorthold Tenancies. Landlords can receive a one-off payment provided they fulfil the requirements of the scheme.

“We are currently doing a number of things to increase housing stock, and be in a better position to quickly rehouse those in B&B accommodation on a permanent basis.

“This includes encouraging developers to provide more social housing through Section 106 funding and spending £27.3million on buying back housing stock lost through Right to Buy.

“We also provide Registered Providers with grant funding to leverage investment in social and affordable homes and we are separately looking into the viability of a £115million new build programme.”