Homeless Young People — [John Robertson in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:36 pm on 21st January 2015.

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Photo of Emma Reynolds Emma Reynolds Shadow Minister (Housing) 3:36 pm, 21st January 2015

And it is the responsibility of the official Opposition to hold the Government to account.

Although we welcome the Government’s “No Second Night Out” initiative, the overall framework within which we are working is worse than it was when we left office. We have had the bedroom tax and the housing crisis—the number of houses being built is the lowest in peacetime since the 1920s. Lower numbers of affordable homes are being built—in particular, homes for social rent, on which many people on low incomes rely. I am concerned about the worrying rise in the use of benefit sanctions, about which my hon. Friend Paul Blomfield spoke eloquently. The Government deny it, but it seems that jobcentres have unofficial targets for sanctions. In many cases, as has been highlighted, it is being done unfairly and is causing hardship.

Councils such as Wolverhampton, Newcastle, Rochdale and Sheffield are facing the biggest local government cuts in the country, especially compared with wealthier areas. My hon. Friend Ian Lavery is right that political choices have been made. Unfortunately, the Government’s political choices have made the situation worse.