To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he will take to reduce the number of out-of-area placements in permitted development rights buildings in Harlow.
The Government is clear that as far as possible local authorities should avoid placing households outside of their borough. However, where there is a limited supply of suitable accommodation, on occasion, it is necessary to place households outside of the local area. This should always be a last resort. Where it does happen, the council should place the household as near as possible to the original local authority. They also have a legal duty to notify the receiving local authority of any households placed into their area.
Collaboration between local authorities is key. The Government welcomes the initiative taken by the Local Government Association to bring together local authorities from London and around the country to try to address concerns about unsuitable out of area placements, including the use of blocks converted under permitted development rights.
I also recognise the particular challenges that London boroughs face in securing suitable temporary accommodation, which can affect surrounding areas such as Harlow. To tackle these issues, we have invested £37.8 million into a partnership of local authorities across London who have set up Capital Letters – a not-for-profit company which will support councils to reduce the use of expensive nightly-paid temporary accommodation and help to ensure properties are allocated more locally than they are currently. In total, in 2020/2021 the Government is providing £437 million to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping. This marks a £69 million increase in funding from the previous year.