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Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 7th July 2011.

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Photo of Andrew George Andrew George Liberal Democrat, St Ives

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans he has for local accountability mechanisms to monitor the effects of community empowerment on the provision of services to (a) homeless people and (b) other vulnerable groups.

Photo of Grant Shapps Grant Shapps The Minister for Housing

Through the Localism Bill we are introducing major reforms to public services and providing new rights for communities, promoting transparency and strengthening local democracy and this means that local democratic processes will become even more important and councillors all the more essential as we push power to the most local level possible.

A local authority's statutory homelessness duties remain and there is no means by which this might be weakened. Local housing authorities will still be required to secure suitable accommodation for households who are eligible for assistance, homeless through no fault of their own and in ‘priority need'.

We know that sometimes people may need support and that some areas will require more help than others. That is why we are putting measures in place to remove the institutional barriers to taking collective action such as supporting participatory budgeting which can help improve understanding of the complexities of public budgets and democratic structures, and it can specifically address the needs of vulnerable groups.

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