More than 1,000 empty houses in Copeland should be used to help solve the national housing crisis, campaigners argue.

Action on Empty Homes said it is “exceptionally worrying” that more than half a million homes lie unused across England, while tens of thousands of families are living in temporary accommodation.

The campaign group’s analysis of Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government figures show that 1,582 homes in Copeland were not being used as of October, up from 1,581 the year before.

Of these, 677 were long-term vacancies, unoccupied for at least six months, and 905 were second homes.

This means one in every 21 homes in Copeland were out of use – above the average of one in 47 across England.

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