Jeremy Corbyn has said that a Labour government would "immediately" buy 8,000 homes and help councils "take over" empty properties to tackle Britain's homelessness issue.

Speaking to The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday (28 January), the Labour leader said the scale of homelessness in Britain was "disgusting" and "wholly unnecessary".

Corbyn added that the 8,000 homes would be acquired through a deal with housing associations as councils would be given powers to take over properties left deliberately vacant

The properties would then be made available immediately for those "with a history of sleeping on the streets".

"We would give local authorities the power to take over deliberately kept empty properties, because there is something grossly insulting about the idea you would build some luxury block and deliberately keep it empty," he said.

"Surely we have to have a social objective and a social priority in our society?"

Corbyn also hinted at a further shake-up of the housing sector, suggesting a Labour government would introduce a mortgage scheme to help first-time buyers.

Official data released last week showed an estimated 4,751 people bedded down outside overnight in 2017, up 15% on the previous year and more than double the figure recorded five years ago.

Broken down, the number of rough sleepers increased by 173 (18%) in London and 444 (14%) in the rest of the country.

Of the total figure, 14% were women, 20% were non-UK nationals and 8% were under 25 years old.

Homeless charity Shelter believes the number could be an underestimate as the data is based on estimates from local councils and does not include people temporarily staying in hostels or shelters, or "sofa surfers".

However, Conservative Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington said the increase in homelessness was attributable to a number of different factors and reiterated the government had pledged to curb the issue over the next decade.

"We have pledged to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminate it by 2027," he said.

"We have backed new legislation which is enabling us, with local authorities, to address the reasons why people become homeless and sleep rough, so that we prevent it, rather than try to deal with the problem when it occurs."