§ Mrs. Mahon
To ask the Secreatry of State for the Home Department (1) what steps have been taken to reduce squatting by increasing housing provision;
(2) what consideration has been given to providing alternative accommodation for squatters if squatting is criminalised;
(3) what study he has made of the measures taken by local authorities to secure homes and otherwise deter squatting through damaging their properties.
§ Mr. Baldry
I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Secretary of State for the Home Department.
We do not accept that there are valid arguments in favour of squatting; it is wrong that legitimate occupants should be deprived of the use of their property by squatters. If squatters meet the criteria of priority need under the homelessness legislation, they will be entitled to be found accommodation by the local authority in the same way as any other homeless applicant. There are no plans to change this. No study has been made of measures taken by local authorities to discourage squatters.