The number of people applying for help with homelessness has increased for the first time in almost a decade.

Figures show Scottish local authorities received 34,972 applications for homelessness assistance between April 2017 and March 2018, 1% higher than the same period during 2016/17.

The increase follows eight successive years of annual decreases from a peak of 57,672 applications in 2008/09.

The main reasons for applying as homeless were disputes within households and relationship breakdowns.

The National and Official Statistics Publication figures show the number of people living in temporary accommodation has also increased 1% from last year.

There were 10,933 households in temporary accommodation, with the number of children in such settings increasing by 557 (9%) to 6,615, the fourth consecutive annual increase.

Homelessness charity Shelter Scotland branded the figures as "shocking".

Director Graeme Brown said: "Every 18 minutes a household was made homeless in Scotland last year with 34,972 homelessness applications - more than last year.

"For the fourth year in a row the number of homeless children living in temporary accommodation has risen - up 9% to 6,615. And people are having to stay longer in temporary accommodation with their lives in limbo.

"This is clear evidence that the good progress we have seen in recent years is now being reversed and bad housing and homelessness is blighting the lives of even more people in Scotland - robbing them of their health, security and a fair chance in life.

"We welcome the focus on homelessness in the last year from the Scottish Government but it is now time for urgent action from all areas of local and national government to work together better to tackle and prevent homelessness in Scotland."

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: "Everyone deserves a safe and warm place to call home which is why we are committed to ending homelessness and rough sleeping for good.

"While the long-term trend shows a decrease in the number of homeless applications - a reduction of 39% between 2008/9 and 2017/18 - these figures are a reminder of why preventing homelessness and transforming temporary accommodation will remain a key priority for government.

"We want time spent in unsuitable temporary accommodation to be as short as possible, especially for households with children or where there is a pregnancy. This is why we introduced a cap of one week for families and pregnant women living in B&B accommodation.

"We also need temporary accommodation to be of a high standard, with good support, for everyone."

Political parties said the figures were disappointing.

Scottish Labour's Housing spokesperson Pauline McNeill said: "Having just one person homeless in 21st century Scotland is unacceptable - but to see homelessness on the rise once again is a scandal.

"It is clear the SNP government simply is not taking Scotland's homelessness crisis seriously and SNP ministers should be ashamed by these figures."

The Greens said the issue is not being treated as a priority.

Lothians MSP Andy Wightman said: "Housing a basic human right and Scottish Ministers are far too cautious when it comes to taking radical action.

"We need to see bold measures that reduce the cost of land for councils to build the homes that are needed in our communities and we need strong action to stop the scourge of short-term lets and second homes depriving our city centres and rural towns and villages of badly-needed long-term homes."

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton added: "The SNP Government can't ignore the fact that the number of children in temporary accommodation has increased 59% since 2014.

"On any given day, there are now around 2,500 more children lacking the stability of a home to call their own.

"That is heartbreaking and the upset and disruption it causes can have a real impact on a child's development."