Latest Public Sector News

26.08.16

MPs to examine Homelessness Reduction Bill

A Bill intended to tackle rising levels of homelessness which was proposed by a Communities and Local Government Committee (CLG) member is to be examined by the committee.

The CLG Committee published a major report into local authorities’ response to homelessness last week, which concluded that there is an “unacceptable” level of variation between councils’ responses to homelessness, with homeless people discouraged from applying for help in some cases.

The report found that the problem is so severe that the committee took the unusual step of sponsoring the Homelessness Reduction Bill, a Private Members’ Bill by one of its own members.

Clive Betts MP, chair of the committee, said: “Our inquiry found evidence of some very worrying trends and clear evidence that homelessness is increasing. Of particular concern is the wide variation in the level of service and support offered by councils, especially to those people who are not judged as being in priority need.

“As a committee, we want to use this opportunity to make sure that the Private Members' Bill from one of our members helps to address the problems we identified in our report.”

The CLG Committee said it will carry out an inquiry looking for evidence on the following areas:

  • The Bill's anticipated impact on overall levels of homelessness
  • The provisions for homeless people who are not judged to be in priority need
  • The benefits of prevention activity as a statutory duty
  • The resource implications for local authorities and options for addressing this
  • The potential for increased preventative practice and innovation amongst other public agencies
  • Other measures that should be included in the Bill

Figures from the DCLG show that rough sleeping in England has increased by 30% in a single year.

The Homelessness Reduction Bill was introduced by Bob Blackman, the Conservative MP for Harrow East. It includes measures to intervene earlier to prevent homelessness, provide a robust package of support and assistance to single homeless people and enforce homelessness legislation effectively.

It received its first reading on 29 June and will next be debated by MPs on 28 October.

(Image c. Trowbridge Estate)

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