Rough Sleeping

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:34 pm on 25th February 2021.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Toby Perkins Toby Perkins Shadow Minister (Education) 12:34 pm, 25th February 2021

The Secretary of State was right to praise councils for their role. Here in Chesterfield, we have seen a big reduction in the amount of rough sleeping during the pandemic as the council has utilised the money provided by Government well. I agree with many of the issues that he raised about the causes of rough sleeping and homelessness, but I was alarmed that the role of welfare policy was missing from that list. I am concerned that in Chesterfield many of the rough sleepers I have spoken to tell me that, while they are aware that council flats are available for them, the amount of benefit they receive means that the rent would be unaffordable and they would end up being evicted again. I fear that once the eviction ban ends, we will see a big increase in the number of rough sleepers again. Can the Secretary of State say a little bit about the role of welfare policy and whether, by looking at issues such as the bedroom tax and the levels of rent being paid, we can take steps to ensure that this welcome progress is not lost when the eviction ban is ended?