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 join my hon. Friend in praising Westminster City Council, its officers, its brilliant leader Rachael Robathan, and its very good previous leader, both of whom have been extremely committed to that issue. I have spoken to her and to Rachael Robathan almost weekly about it and, as she says, Westminster has now experienced a 27% decrease in rough sleeping, which is a phenomenal achievement for all involved. I look forward to working with her and Rachael Robathan in the future.

We have reviewed the Vagrancy Act and will be saying more in the weeks ahead. I would be very happy to meet my hon. Friend. It is my opinion that the Vagrancy Act should be repealed. It is an antiquated piece of legislation whose time has been and gone. We should consider carefully whether better, more modern legislation could be introduced to preserve some aspects of it, but the Act itself, I think, should be consigned to history.