Covid-19: Departmental Priorities

Housing, Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons on 15th June 2020.

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Photo of Alyn Smith Alyn Smith Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

What recent assessment he has made of the implications for his Department’s priorities of the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Luke Hall Luke Hall Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

Supporting the national and local response to covid-19 has been our top priority since March. We are giving councils the resources they need to respond and have injected £3.2 billion of new grant funding. This includes support for vulnerable people such as rough sleepers, where we have taken unprecedented action. Nearly 15,000 people have been housed in emergency accommodation, including hotels, since the start of the lockdown period.

Photo of Alyn Smith Alyn Smith Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

I am grateful for that answer. In a consensual spirit, because this challenge affects everybody everywhere, can we recognise the remarkable achievement, proving what we can do when there is political will, of bringing rough sleeping all but to zero? However, we need to build on that and take it forward. What plans does the Minister have to work across the House to make sure that we can build on that success and end rough sleeping altogether?

Photo of Luke Hall Luke Hall Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

I thank the hon. Gentleman for the way that he asked his question. We have seen a remarkable effort from local authorities, volunteers, the homelessness sector and councils of all party political persuasions, who have worked together to bring so many rough sleepers and people in danger of sleeping rough off the streets to give them the support they need. We are of course working with local authorities across the spectrum to put plans in place to support people into longer-term accommodation. Alongside that, we have announced £433 million to deliver 6,000 units of new move-on accommodation and personalised, wraparound support. I am always very happy to meet the hon. Gentleman to discuss this further.