Tuesday 17 January 2017 / 5:23 PM 2017 Press Archive / The Latest from Labour

Legislation alone will not cure the epidemic of homelessness – Andy Slaughter

Andy
Slaughter MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister
, responding to the
Government’s announcement of funding the costs of the Homelessness Reduction
Bill, said:

“Labour
has said from the start that while new legislation to tackle the scandal of
high and rising homelessness is welcome, it must be fully funded. Today’s
statement offers funding which runs out after two years and raises concerns
that Ministers will not honour the promise made in the House of Commons that
‘the Government will fund the additional costs of the Bill’.

“The
sum of £35 million offered for the next financial year, when divided between
councils is likely to be less than the estimates made by authorities
themselves.

“Particularly
worrying is that the funding falls to zero within two years. There is no
evidence provided by the Government that savings will offset costs by this
time. It is essential that Ministers both provide the calculations on
which this claim is based and that they agree to a full review of costs after
two years, as the Local Government Association has requested.

“Finally,
the problem that has beset the Bill from the start is no nearer
resolution. Legislation alone will not cure the epidemic of homelessness
that has seen rough sleeping double since 2010. So the Government must
also bring forward plans to building more genuinely affordable homes, and
dedicate at least 4,000 of these to avert rough sleeping as Labour has
advocated.

“Labour
will continue to work to make this cross-party Bill a success, but it is up to
the Government to demonstrate that their commitment to fund the full costs of
this legislation is more than just hot air.”

Ends

 

Notes

1.   The Written
Statement announcing the funding is available here: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2017-01-17/HCWS418/   

2.   The Minister Marcus
Jones’s commitment to fund the full costs of the new legislation was made at
the Second Reading of the Homelessness Reduction Bill, 28th October
2016 https://goo.gl/M9awd8

3.   Independent bodies
and local authorities have made much higher estimates of the costs of the new
legislation. The Association of Housing Advice Services, a non-profit
organisation, estimates London’s 32 boroughs will face a combined bill of £161m
to implement the new duties: http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/new-homelessness-duties-could-cost-london-councils-millions/7018132.article