§ Mr. Jim Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many 16 and 17-year-olds are staying in emergency hostels, and what plans he has to reduce the number. 
§ Mr. Clappison
The information requested is not available in my Department.
The Children Act 1989 requires social services departments to provide accommodation for a child in need who has reached the age of 16 and whose welfare is likely to be seriously prejudiced if they do not provide him with accommodation. Social services departments also have power to provide accommodation for any child in their area if they consider that this would safeguard and promote the child's welfare.
Young people who are homeless can approach the local housing authority for assistance under part II of the Housing Act 1985. Housing authorities and social services departments are expected to co-operate in discharging their respective duties.