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To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether his Department has plans to requisition empty (a) flats and (b) houses that have been used for (i) speculation and (ii) money laundering purposes to help reduce street homelessness.
The Government currently has no plans to requisition empty homes that have been used for speculation or money laundering for this specific purpose.
We are continuing to support local authorities to encourage efficient use of our existing stock, making best use of homes that are long-term empty to increase the supply of housing. At Autumn Budget, we announced proposals to strengthen the powers available to local authorities to tackle empty homes. Local authorities will be able to charge a 100 per cent council tax premium (currently 50 per cent) to homes that have been empty for more than two years.
This Government is also committed to preventing and reducing homelessness in England. That is why we are aiming to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminate it altogether by 2027. We are investing over £1.2 billion to reduce homelessness and rough sleeping in England by 2020. This includes a £100 million programme for low-cost move on accommodation to enable people leaving hostels and refuges to make a sustainable recovery from a homelessness crisis into independent living.