Rough Sleeping

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

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Photo of Robert Jenrick Robert Jenrick The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government 12:34 pm, 25th February 2021

I do not like to disagree with the right hon. Lady, because she is right on many issues, but she is wrong on this one, I am afraid. Local councils have self-reported to my Department that they have spent around £1 billion less on covid-19 issues than we have given them, so we have overfunded local councils at the moment. We will do everything we can to make good on our promise to support them through the pandemic. We have increased the amount of funding for homelessness and rough sleeping, as I said earlier, by 60% year on year to £750 million.

I do not think that this issue is one of money today; it is about commitment, and it is about delivery. The right hon. Lady’s local council in Hull is actually one of the small number of local authorities that have seen an increase in rough sleepers, from six in the last count to 19 in this one, compared with the many good examples in the other direction that I have been able to report today on a cross-party basis. I think that further effort between my Department and her local council, perhaps with her support, is needed in the months ahead.