HC Deb 12 December 1997 vol 302 cc726-7W
Mr. Evans

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the rough sleepers initiative in the Victoria area. [19503]

Mr. Raynsford

The most recent head counts by voluntary sector organisations show that the number of people sleeping rough in central London on any one night is around 280. In the Victoria area, the number of people sleeping rough in the May 1997 street count was 58.

Independent research into earlier phases of the RSI (1990–93 and 1993–96) has shown that the Initiative has been successful in helping many thousands of people to start a new life away from the streets. Victoria is one of five central London areas which attract large numbers of rough sleepers. It is not possible to disaggregate research data on the effectiveness of the Initiative in the Victoria area from that for central London as a whole. We expect to let a research contract to evaluate the effectiveness of the third phase of the Initiative (1996–99) early next year.

The Social Exclusion Unit, announced by the Prime Minister on 8 December will have tackling issues surrounding street living including rough sleeping and the causes of rough sleeping as one of its priorities.