HC Deb 22 June 1972 vol 839 cc705-6
Q2. Mr. Greville Janner

asked the Prime Minister whether he will arrange for the co-ordination between the Department of Health and Social Security and the Department of the Environment to include, in the forthcoming report on the homeless, proposals for the provision of public funds to assist in the work and coordination of the Simon Community, the Mungo Community, the Cyrenians, New Horizon and other members of the consortium of voluntary organisations concerned with homeless and rootless people.

The Prime Minister

Her Majesty's Government are already convinced of the value of the work of voluntary organisations working with the homeless; and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services has made grants to some and is in contact with others about their work and problems in advance of receiving this report.

Mr. Janner

Is the Prime Minister aware that there are an estimated 250,000 homeless, rootless people in this country some 30,000 of whom sleep rough each night? Is he further aware that an all-party group is being launched in this House today to help these largely inarticulate people? Will he assure the House of the full enthusiasm and co-operation of all Government Departments in this work?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir, I can give the hon. and learned Gentleman the very full assurances for which he asks. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services was delighted to hear of the formation of a consortium of all the various bodies working on this subject because he thinks it will be helpful to have this centralised body organised in this way. As I said in my main answer, my right hon. Friend is already in contact with the individual bodies, grants are being made to a number of them and he has discussed with the others how he can help.

Dr. Vaughan

Would my right hon. Friend agree that we do not need a report to tell us that many of the bodies are already receiving financial aid and that they could have more if they applied for it? Further, will he say whether the Government can give more direct advice to local authorities in helping the homeless and rootless?

The Prime Minister

I was not implying that a report was needed to show that action was already being taken by way of grant to various bodies. There is a study of homelessness in London, the first part of which is now being considered by the London boroughs and the second part of which we expect shortly. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services is now working out with the local authority associations a circular to all local authorities about the social service needs of single adults who cannot cope with problems of everyday life. This circular will meet my hon. Friend's point.