Supported Housing: Benefit

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:18 pm on 20th July 2016.

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Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 4:18 pm, 20th July 2016

I thank Debbie Abrahams for her welcome, and many right hon. and hon. Members for the passion, enthusiasm and interest that they have shown in this debate. I am delighted to have been appointed to my role at the Department for Work and Pensions, which does vital work for millions of people across the country.

It is clear that Members across the House take a keen interest in the funding of supported housing, and rightly so given the valuable support that that sector provides to some of the most vulnerable citizens in society. Through the welfare reforms that my Department has been driving over the past six years, we have sought to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to realise their ambitions and potential, and we can see that working. Today’s labour market statistics show that employment continues to rise, and remains at a record high.

Alongside that ambition, however, we know the importance of protecting the most vulnerable in our society. We heard from 19 Back Benchers, constituency MPs representing the length and breadth of the country. Many of us have come across wonderful work of many supported housing providers in our own local communities. I apologise if I do not manage to mention everybody—I will do my best—but I would like to highlight some of the excellent contributions we have heard.

Alison Thewliss mentioned the Blue Triangle project for young people in Glasgow city centre and the ARCH resettlement centre for homeless people. I emphasise to her that 200 individuals were involved in the review that has been undertaken. She spoke forcefully about refuge. Like me, she will have heard my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in today’s Prime Minister’s questions mention the importance of doing everything we can for those who are victims of domestic violence.

My hon. Friend Justin Tomlinson, who I thank for his very kind words and his immense amount of hard work in the Department, talked about Voyage Care. He is incredibly knowledgeable and I welcome the support he has given in this debate today. My hon. Friend Maria Caulfield referred to Newhaven Foyer in her constituency and BHT Sussex for people with dependencies.

Lilian Greenwood referred to Nottingham City Homes, Nottingham Community Housing Association and Framework. She was very kind and invited me to visit her constituency. I note I did not get the same invitation to go to Plymouth in the summer months.