HL Deb 27 July 1998 vol 592 c152WA
Lord Patten

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether it remains their policy to prevent rough sleeping around Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey while permitting it freely in Victoria Street and around Westminster Cathedral. [HL2874]

Lord Williams of Mostyn

For several reasons, the areas around Victoria Street and Westminster Cathedral are popular with rough sleepers, unlike the areas around Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey.

The Government have recently announced a new strategy to reduce the number of people sleeping rough by two-thirds within three years.

A new ministerial committee, led by my honourable friend the Minister for Local Government and Housing at the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Hilary Armstrong) will be responsible for co-ordinating policy across government. This will include prevention programmes to ensure that the most vulnerable, such as those with institutional backgrounds, are better equipped to live on their own.

In London, the Government will consult on setting up a new body to take over all the different programmes currently targeted at rough sleepers. In the meantime, the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis tells me that the Metropolitan Police will continue to work in partnership with other agencies to deal with the problem of rough sleeping in Central London.