Report (2nd Day) (Continued)

Part of Welfare Reform and Work Bill – in the House of Lords at 9:45 pm on 27th January 2016.

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Photo of The Bishop of Durham The Bishop of Durham Bishop 9:45 pm, 27th January 2016

My Lords, I support Amendment 51 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Best. I am speaking partly on behalf of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Rochester, who spoke on this matter in Committee.

Prior to being the Bishop of Durham I was the Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham, and I had the privilege of working closely with Framework, which provides much supported housing across Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and South Yorkshire. Andrew Redfern is its incredibly impressive chief executive, and I quote him:

“We house more than 1,200 of the most vulnerable people in the communities we serve. They include rough sleepers, people with mental health, drug and alcohol problems, care leavers, young mothers and people with multiple and complex needs”.

He goes on to say:

“The exemption of specified accommodation from the 1% rent cut will offer some breathing space—a fighting chance to save what has survived the various rounds of local authority de-commissioning. If specified accommodation is not exempted, we will lose about half of our current provision over the next four years. Homelessness and rough sleeping will continue to increase”.

I am delighted to hear that the Minister has proposals that will be good news to Framework and many other providers, and I look forward to conveying it to them.