§ Mr. Kirkwood
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list in theOfficial Report the measures Her Majesty's Government are taking to provide accommodation for single homeless men in Scotland.
§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
The Government are committed to maintaining an effective legislative framework to help the homeless. Recent initiatives designed to tackle the problem of homelessness include the provision of increased resources for capital investment by local authorities, particularly for special needs groups, and funding of voluntary organisations concerned with homeless people. Steps have also been taken to increase the availability of accommodation for rent through support of the housing association movement. Our proposals to reform the private rented sector will increase landlords' willingness to make property available for rent. We have also given guidance to local authorities on design standards and on priority allocation policies; and we are at present undertaking research into local authorities' practices in dealing with applications from homeless people. In addition, a new clause to be introduced into the Housing (Scotland) Bill will allow local authorities, with the approval of the Secretary of State, to make schemes under which they can offer tenants cash incentives to move out of council housing into the private sector. The accommodation thus vacated will then be available directly or indirectly to provide housing for the homeless.