HC Deb 17 September 2003 vol 410 cc737-9W
Mr. Hepburn

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much has been spent on providing temporary accommodation for families claiming to be homeless in(a) the Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the north east and (d) England, in each year since 1997. [128710]

Yvette Cooper

Information annually reported to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister by local authorities identifies expenditure incurred in respect of bed and breakfast, private sector leasing and all other forms of temporary accommodation used by homeless households. This includes associated costs, such as the provision of furniture, property maintenance/ refurbishment, rent guarantees, nomination fees and administrative costs, chargeable to the General Fund Services Revenue Account. along with any specific capital charges. Information is not available below local authority level, and that reported by South Tyneside MBC, and all councils comprising the north east region and nationally is shown in the following table.

Local authority revenue expenditure on homelessness
Total Net Capital charges
South Tyneside
1997–98 33 33 n/a
1998–99 35 35 n/a
1999–2000 25 25 n/a
2000–01 29 29 0
2001–02 39 39 0
1997–98 2,235 1,497 n/a
1998–99 2,577 1,631 n/a
1999–2000 2,737 1,768 n/a
2000–01 2,645 1,885 39
2001–02 4,277 3,634 1,100
1997–98 214,802 122,669 n/a
1998–99 278,474 150,299 n/a
1999–2000 334,853 171,492 n/a
2000–01 372,424 201,321 2,769
2001–02 429,376 189,426 4,366


Data on capital charges were not collected prior to 2000/01


ODPM RO6 financial returns

Mr. Hepburn

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what measures are in place to help to reduce the number of homeless people; [128712]

(2) what further support he plans to offer to help the homeless. [128709]

Yvette Cooper

The March 2002 report, "More than a roof", set out the Government's approach to tackling and preventing homelessness. Specific measures included investment of £125 million in 2002–03 to support local authorities and the voluntary agencies working with them to support new approaches for tackling and preventing homelessness. The Homelessness Directorate within the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has a revenue budget of £70 million and £23.5 million capital allocation for 2003–04. These resources will help to support the Government's commitment that by March 2004 no homeless family with children should be placed in a bed and breakfast hotel other than in an emergency, and even then for no more than six weeks.

Funding will also support new approaches that help people tackle the problems that are making and keeping them homeless and help to sustain the Prime Minister's target to reduce rough sleeping by two thirds of 1998 levels. The number of people sleeping rough on any one night in England has reduced from a baseline figure of 1,850 in June 1998 to the lowest recorded level of 504 in June 2003.

Other measures include: the Homelessness Act 2002, which required local authorities to undertake a review of homelessness in their area and put a strategy in place by end of July 2003 to ensure that support and accommodation is available within their districts for homeless people, and those at risk of homelessness; a widening of the groups of people with priority need for accommodation under the homelessness legislation, ensuring that more vulnerable people get the help they need; The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has invested £6 million in 2002–03 and are investing £11 million in 2003–04 on a special initiative to make 500 homes available for homeless families with children living in bed and breakfast (B&B) hotels in London; new advice to housing authorities on arrangements to ensure that all babies and children placed in temporary accommodation receive their health and developmental tests; The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister launched a three month consultation in May 2003 on legislation and statutory guidance to limit the use of B&B accommodation for families with children, raise standards in all forms of temporary accommodation—particularly B&Bs—and ensure that households in B&B hotels have access to support from health, education and social services. We are currently considering responses to take forward proposals by end of 2003 to help reinforce achievement of B&B target; The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is working to improve access to services and information on services for households in England experiencing domestic violence or the threat of it. The Homelessness Directorate will invest £23 million of capital funding over the next three years to provide additional safe refuge bedspaces for those fleeing violence and their families where this is supported by local authorities as part of their homelessness duties.

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