HC Deb 08 July 2002 vol 388 cc681-2W
Mr. Breed

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what proportion of rural local authorities have used bed and breakfast accommodation to house young people for each of the last 10 years, broken down by region; [66783]

(2) what proportion of rural districts had emergency accommodation for young people in each of the last 10 years, broken down by region; [66784]

(3) what measures he is taking to improve the recording of homelessness in rural areas. [66782]

Mr. McNulty

Detailed information on emergency accommodation and use of bed and breakfast accommodation for young people in rural districts is not collected centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The new Homelessness Act 2002 will bring about radical change in the way that central and local government, and all other partners, work together to tackle homelessness in all parts of the country including rural areas. For the first time ever, local authorities will be required to carry out a review and develop a strategy for their area that prevents homelessness and provides solutions for people who are, or who may become, homeless. More specifically, the reviews required by the Homelessness Act will require authorities to estimate current and likely future levels of homelessness and audit provision for all forms of homelessness among young people.

In addition, the quarterly P1E return on which local authorities report activity under the homelessness legislation has been expanded to collect information about the average length of time spent by households in B and B hotels, and hostel style accommodation.

With effect from April 2002, the form has been further revised, both to seek finer detail about instances of harassment and violence leading to home loss and in anticipation of additional priority need categories proposed in the Homelessness (Priority Need for Accommodation) Order 2002 which, subject to parliamentary approval, should come into effect at the end of July.