HC Deb 21 October 2002 vol 391 cc61-2W
Tim Loughton

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many under-16s are living rough in(a) West Sussex and (b) London; and what plans he has to reduce this number. [75559]

Mrs. Roche

As far as we are aware, our information which includes street counts and client lists, suggests that there are no under 16s sleeping rough. Voluntary sector workers are highly skilled and, if they knew of a child under the age of 16 sleeping rough, they would immediately liaise with the local police and local authority social services department.

However, the Government is aware that there are a large number of children who run away each year. The SEU is shortly publishing a report which considers the immediate safety of young runaways and examines the policies and services available to young runaways or those at risk of running.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has also worked closely with the Connexions Service to produce guidance for homelessness agencies working with vulnerable young people to deliver effective services for 13 to 19 year-olds.