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Statement on the Communities and Local Government Committee inquiry into homelessness

  • By Rosemary.Davenp...

Mayor Steve Bullock, London Councils’ executive member for housing said:

“We welcome the committee tackling this important issue and are pleased that their report has not only recognised the unique pressures faced by London councils but – in many cases – their efforts to go above and beyond the call of duty to protect vulnerable people.

“But despite this positive work, we are faced with hard facts. This year, for the first time, the number of homeless households living in temporary accommodation in the capital topped 50,000. And in 2014/15, boroughs spent £663 million providing this accommodation, with around a quarter of this met through their own resources.

“For our part, we’ll be carefully considering the recommendations and building on the good work the committee has rightfully identified. But councils cannot tackle this alone.  If boroughs are to carry out their duties towards homeless people, Government must play its part too by giving them adequate resources. We look forward to seeing their response.”

Notes to Editors

The Committee's full report can be read here

Responses to individual recommendations:

  1. The report highlights the need to build more homes.  London Councils is concerned that the proposals contained the Housing and Planning Act and the further reductions in housing benefit cap, will further reduce housing supply and boroughs’ ability to provide homes for homeless people.
  2. We support the recommendation that supported housing schemes should not be subject to a proposed rent reduction and echo concerns about the ongoing review of LHA caps applicable to supported housing leaving providers with no certainty about income levels. There are real concerns that this will impact on the viability of existing schemes and reduce overall supply.
  3. We support the recommendations that housing benefit tenants should be permitted to elect for their benefit payments to be paid directly to landlords. This measure will mitigate the concerns raised by private landlords about the financial risks of letting their properties to people on housing benefit.
  4. We support increased funding for refuge and hostel provision. This is needed to ensure that boroughs are able to offer suitable housing solutions for young single vulnerable people.    
  5. We support the measures to improve the robustness of data collection as recommended by the UK Statistics Authority, however this should not overburden staff who are already working under considerable pressure in London.