§ Mr. Alton
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the street homelessness initiative in central London; whether it is his intention to sanction the use of coercion to remove homeless people from London streets; and whether he intends to use the Vagrancy Act 1824 to prevent homeless people from sleeping rough.
§ Sir George Young
The initiative continues to make encouraging progress. Nearly 500 places have been made available in hostels and 800 in flats and houses. A significant impact has been made on the numbers sleeping rough on the streets of central London and those numbers should further decline as more accommodation becomes available. The use of Vagrancy Act powers in central London is a matter for the Metropolitan police.