Rough Sleeping

Housing, Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons on 10th December 2018.

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Photo of Jess Phillips Jess Phillips Labour, Birmingham, Yardley

What steps his Department is taking to support people sleeping rough at Christmas 2018.

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government

The rough sleeping initiative has allocated £30 million to 83 local authorities, which are working to deliver 500 additional support workers and 1,750 extra bed spaces to support people off the street. The Government have also made available a £5 million cold weather fund for all areas to provide additional support this winter.

Photo of Jess Phillips Jess Phillips Labour, Birmingham, Yardley

I thank the Minister for his answer. I wonder whether he could answer me a simple question. I would appreciate a one-word answer, as I am sure Mr Speaker will. The rough sleeping headcount in Birmingham took place last week. The figures are yet to be revealed. Does the Minister think that they will have gone up or down?

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government

I am not going to predict, because—[Interruption.] I am sorry to disappoint the hon. Lady. I want to see the figures coming down, because it is about helping people off the street and changing their lives. No one chooses to be out on the street. That is why we are taking all the action that we are.

Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Conservative, Reigate

What is the Government’s estimate of the proportion of those sleeping rough who are not addicted to drugs, including alcohol?

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government

We recognise that there is a significant issue with what is known as dual diagnosis of mental ill health and alcohol addiction and how the two are intertwined, along with the use of novel psychoactive substances, which has compounded the issue. That is why we have asked the national health service to provide an additional £30 million to address those issues and get better data on them.

Photo of Paula Sherriff Paula Sherriff Shadow Minister (Mental Health and Social Care), Shadow Minister (Mental Health)

There cannot be a Member in this House who has failed to notice the exponential rise in people sleeping on our streets, and not just in cities such as London, but in places such as Dewsbury, which I represent. Will the Secretary of State tell us what progress has been made on the Government pledge to end homelessness?

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government

It is our intent to see rough sleeping ended. I highlighted in my earlier answer the additional beds, the additional workers and the funding support that has been put in place, because it is about progress over the next few years, but also action now, which is what the rough sleeping initiative is all about: saving lives and seeing more people come off the street.