Sleeping Rough

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 9th May 2019.

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Photo of Lord Roberts of Llandudno Lord Roberts of Llandudno Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the cost of (1) imprisoning a person under the Vagrancy Act 1824, and (2) subsidising the provision of a hostel bed.

Photo of Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

Her Majesty’s Prisons and Probation Service (HMPPS), formerly known as the National Offender Management Service, does not calculate separately the costs by type of sentence. The information recorded on the HMPPS central accounting system does not allow the identification of such costs. However, an average cost per prisoner, costs per prison place and overall prison unit costs for each private and public sector prison in England and Wales are routinely published by HMPPS. This information is produced on an annual basis and is published after the end of each financial year.

Information on prison expenditure can be accessed in the Prison and Probation Performance Statistics pages for each financial year on the website. Prison unit costs can be found within the Excel document Costs per prison place and cost per prisoner by individual prison establishment in the ‘Cost by Establishment’ tab.

A specific figure on the amount of subsidy provided for a hostel bed space is not available. The 2016 Supported Accommodation Review, published by DWP and MHCLG, showed that the estimated average weekly Housing Benefit award for working-age claimants living in supported housing in England (which would include those living in hostels) was £180 per week, attached (see Table B.11, page 119).

The Government is committed to reducing homelessness and rough sleeping. No one should ever have to sleep rough. That is why last summer we published the cross-government Rough Sleeping Strategy. This sets out an ambitious £100 million package to help people who sleep rough now, but also puts in place the structures that will end rough sleeping once and for all. The Government has now committed over £1.2 billion to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping over the spending review period.

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