HL Deb 31 January 2005 vol 669 cc13-4WA
The Earl of Listowel

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Given the increase in homelessness, what additional statutory funding is being made available to voluntary organisations providing for the needs of families living in temporary accommodation. [HL788]

The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker)

Local authorities receive funding for their homelessness responsibilities through formula grant which is distributed through formula spending shares (FSS). The local government finance settlement 2005–06 provides for an increase of 2.5 per cent in the environmental, protective and cultural services FSS block (which covers homelessness services). Formula grant is unhypothecated and spending priorities are a matter for individual local authorities. Authorities use their powers under Section 180 of the Housing Act 1996 to pay grants to voluntary sector agencies to help tackle homelessness from these and other resources available to them.

Since 2002–03, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has provided local authorities with extra resources to help them meet additional statutory obligations under the Homelessness Act 2002—£6.5 million in 2001–02 and £8 million per annum thereafter.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister announced in our five-year plan, Homes for All published on 25 January, that we will reduce homelessness and that, by 2010, we will halve the number of households living in insecure temporary accommodation. We are providing £60 million in 2004–05, rising to £74 million in 2007–08, to help local authorities and voluntary sector agencies take action to prevent homelessness. Our strategy on homelessness builds on successes in reducing rough sleeping by two-thirds, ending the long-term use of bed and breakfast hotels as accommodation for homeless families with children, and more recent reductions in the number of new cases of homelessness. More effective prevention of homelessness will be coupled with new action and increased investment in social and other affordable housing to improve the supply of, and access to, settled homes.

Substantial funding is also available through the Supporting People programme. A total funding of over £350 million will be provided for homelessness services in 2004–05, of which £51 million will be allocated to homeless families with support needs.