27/01/2017 House of Commons


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Order, order! Point of order Mr Burrows. The question is that this


House to sit in Private. As many as are of the opinion, say, "aye". To


the contrary, "no". The noes have it, the noes have it. That was


close, that! Sometimes we can do things very swiftly! The clerk will


now proceed to read the orders of the day. Homelessness Reduction Bill


as amended in the public bill committed to be considered. We begin


with new clause one with which it with new clause one with which it


will be convenient to consider new clauses two and three. Mr Andy


Slaughter to move new clause one. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. It


really is a pleasure to be opening a series of debates this morning on


this important bill which, if passed, will mark a sea change in


the way that homelessness treated in this country, and this is a rare


creature, a Private members Bill with a hope of success. I should not


tempt fate this only in proceedings! But I cannot see the usual suspect


sitting behind the, said that encourages me already. It has


support from I think all parties, it importantly has Government support,


I suspect we would not have got this far, and indeed we should not forget


the good work that the Select Committee and the chair of the


Select Committee have done in supporting it getting this far. And


of course I pay tribute at this stage to the sponsor of the bill,


who I think now knows more about the intricacies of homelessness law that


he perhaps ever wanted to. There are matters still to be resolved, but I


hope, and I said is advisedly, that all those matters are discussed and


can be resolved this morning, and certainly for my part I don't intend


to go long on this, and although there are certainly important


matters that need to be covered, I hope in the time we have available


this morning that we will be able to complete all stages. Let me begin by


addressing the new clauses and let me be clear from the beginning that


it is not my intention to press clauses two and three to a vote, and


I'm hopeful when the Minister speaks I will hear words that encourage me


not to press new clause one to either. An interesting feature of


this bill has been the constructive discussions that have gone on


outside of committee, of course, not in committee, that would not be


appropriate at all! Outside committee, my last e-mail at about


11pm last night, I appreciate it might have been passed his bedtime


so he might not have had time to respond, but I think we are getting


where we want to go. Having said that, new clause one in particular


does deal with perhaps the central unresolved issue, which relates not


to the content of the bill, we will come onto that in the Government


amendments later on, but the implementation, and in particular


whether the resources the Government has set aside are sufficient. New


clause to back row and three, which I will address in a moment, are also


important because they really are what stands behind this bill, which


is legislation in itself is not going to tackle the homelessness


crisis in this country. To be fair to the sponsor, he has at all stages


that that is the case and indeed the article published this morning


repeats that and I appreciate that, but nevertheless we cannot look at


this bill in a vacuum, we have to look at the surrounding


circumstances and nothing illustrates that better than the


figures that were released two days ago in relation to rough sleeping


which repealed absolutely shocking 16% increase year on year -- which


revealed. There are now more than 4000 people sleeping rough on the


streets of the UK, and that is one person which is one person to many.


What should particularly alarmed this House is the fact that this is


a crisis that does not need to be there. Under the last Labour


Government, rough sleeping fell by three quarters because of direct


Government intervention and coordination not only with the local


authorities but also many homelessness charities who also


stand behind this bill. It is a solvable crisis and the fact that


street homelessness has gone up since 2010, since the coalition and


now the current Government, by over 130% is something which is should


shame the Government. Whereas we are here to Pascual legislation, this


does not get the Government off the hook in relation to that issue. Let


me go back to new clause one before I come onto two and three. One small


note of discord, which is... We could not avoid that, could we?! We


don't want this to become a battle about who is more in favour of this


bill, and I did note in the comments that the sponsor made this morning


in his article that there may be a danger of the bill being delayed


because of the new clauses that we have tabled. There are lots of


confused pots and kettles out there, because the Government I notice have


tabled 21 amendments today, quite complicated amendments, which I


don't think anybody would wish to be seen taken at the report stage. If


they were not able to be on the face of the bill then they should have


been dealt with in committee. I'm hopeful nevertheless that we will be


able to deal with those amendments but I think for the opposition to


take one part of this time to debate some important principles of the


bill is not unreasonable or irrational in any way. I noted that


in the time we spent in committee, the members of the governing party


spoke for 2.5 times the members of the opposition. I will in a moment,


I will in a moment. We all have to sometimes curb our prolixity, even I


have to do that from time to time, but we were very disciplined in


committee. We withdrew a large number of new clauses and amendments


before the Christmas break in order to speed the bill through. I think,


notwithstanding that my colleagues on the bill have huge expertise in


this matter and a lot to say, we were very disciplined about the way


we conducted ourselves. I wish I could say the same for the


opposition, front and back benches, including the honourable gentleman.


I'm grateful for him for giving way. It was a pleasure to serve on the


bill committee with him and I'm delighted to hear that he still is


speaking in favour of this bill, that it still attracts cross-party


support, and he can rely upon my discipline today, and I'm sure that


all colleagues, to ensure this goes through. Excellent! Rousing words,


and I'm sure they will be followed by action and that may be the last


we hear from the honourable gentleman today, I don't know! The


difficulty, I don't want to labour this point, I just said that we were


hopeful, notwithstanding it is an important bill and quite a long bill


for a Private Members Bill, considerably longer than a bill we


are going to be debated next week, which I suspect will take rather


more time! But nevertheless we should be able to get through it in


less time, and it is rational, really, and we know why we are doing


it, because the Government were filibustering in order to keep the


honourable member for North West Durham's bill on boundaries out of


who is delaying and not delaying not


this bill, let's just get on with it now. Let me deal with this point on


money. Right at the beginning of the process, the committee process, the


Minister said, I will hope to tell you before the end of the committee


process how much money there will be, because there was a commitment


from the Government that they would fully fund the additional costs, and


we know there are going to be substantial additional costs to


local authorities under the new burdens, that money has to come from


central Government, and we waited week by week with bated breath to


see what that money would be. At the last moment on the bill, somebody


came forward, and that is not a negligible sum of money, it is about


?48 million spread over two years, but that ?48 million compares with


estimates, I think sensible estimates, by both individual local


authorities and by the collective body of local authorities, the local


government Association and local councils -- London councils as to


what the cost would be. One example, against the 37, 30 ?8 million


prescribed for the first year of implementation of the bill, there is


an estimate by London councils that it will cost about 160 million.


There is a massive disparity in figures there. I think it is right


to say that because we are in new territory with this bill, nobody


really knows what the full cost is going to be, and so the solution


that was lighted upon was, let's have a review at an early stage so


we can see both whether the amounts that have been allocated to the bill


in those two years are sufficient, and perhaps, more controversial,


whether the Government's assertion that after two years there will be


no need for additional funding because the bill will be self


financing, whether that will prove to be true or not, because there is


a huge scepticism, and I disagree with one other thing in the article,


that there is no support for our new clauses. There is total support for


our new clauses, there is an issue about timing and about making sure


the bill completes its stages both here and in the other place, but the


scepticism about the financing of this bill is shared not just by


local government but by the charities who have supported the


bill. And the crucial importance of this is not just that it is only


fair and reasonable and right that local government is properly funded,


because that is what the burdens doctrine says, but that if it does


not work then the bill is not going to work, and it will simply be words


on a piece of paper and we will not see that sea change in addressing


homelessness and, in particular, extending duties of homelessness,


both prevention and cure, to those in priority need to everybody, two


single homeless people and to everybody who present themselves as


homeless. If we are sincere What new clause 1 does, Madame


Deputy Speaker t puts that review on the face of the bill. It simply


says, after we have had time to see the implementation of the provisions


of the bill, that we judge whether that money, and the Government says


it is and everybody else says it isn't, sufficient for the purposes


set out in the bill. The minister has raised one or two procedural


points on this, as to when the provisions of the bill will take


effect and when the appropriate time is to have that review. I'm open to


debate on those matters, but on the principle -- and this is what I


would hope to hear from the minister when he spokes - but on the


principle we have a review t must be when reasonable time or money is


still available to local authorities and it must be in particular cover,


not just whether the bill is succeeding in purposes but whether


the money is enough to cover all costs. I would think the minister


would like to see that happen. They would not want their local authority


to fail and where local authorities have seen cuts nor their budgets


over the last few years, it is not just unfireworks but it is


impossible for local authorities to cover the substantial costs


themselves. -- unfair. The minister says that - or the only


- apart from the clause 13 of this bill, the rest of the clauses,


substantive clause of this bill will not actually take effect until


regulations have taken effect. I appreciate that indeed it is an


entirely reasonable thing to happen because there will be a substantial


period of time to which local authorities have to gear up to these


responsibilities. They will need to recruit staff, train staff, and put


procedures in place and there will be - and often the devil will be in


the details of the guidance produced. I think the minister can


speak for himself but I think he is thinking it could be up for a year


before we see the full implementation of that bill and


clearly until we have implementation, we do not know what


the costs are likely to be and it is a question of what is a reasonable


period of time to see that. We think in claw clause 1 it is between one


and two years. I would say, let's go to the end of that period, the end


of the two-year period but let's make sure we are in a position tow


end of the two-year period and the implementation, to see whether the


money has been sufficient, because that's when the money runs out. And


there is a slight disconnect between the money as announced in the


written ministerial statement last week, which deals with the two


financial years immediately coming up, that is to say, 2017-18, and


2018-19 and what the minister is now saying, which is in fact


theismentation is unlikely to happen until 2018. So either the Government


is giving local authorities upfront front which would be slightly


unusual in my experience or that needs to be corrected. In any event,


two years' money that. Money may be two years' money that. Money may be


insufficient and at the end of that two-year period the money runs out.


. I give way. Can I tell my honourable friend that Newham


Council has looked a at this and think it is going to cost them ?2.5


million in the first year alone toisment this. I'm delighted this


bill is going through, but does he honestly believe this Government is


going to fully compensate the councils for the money they are


going to need to expend? Well I'm one of nature's optimists, Madame


Deputy Speaker. The minister is such a reasonable fellow and I know he is


so kind-hearted I'm sure that he says he wishes to fully fund this.


Unfortunately the Government's record as a whole is not being kind


what theed, particularly to local Government and they do have a bit of


a habit, which we see from the fact of all the cuts made across


Government the biggest cuts are in local government, ie passing the


buck to somebody else by cutting the local government budget and,


therefore, my honourable friend is absolutely right to be sceptical


about this and this is what we want it hear. But we could - there are


many figures floating around. The Newham - Newham council know what


they are talking B they have one of the most pressing needs for housing


in the country. We have some of the poorest communities in the country


and I'm afraid some of the worst housing, particularly in the private


rented sector, so these are matters of real concern, but all we're


asking for in this new clause or a commitment we hope to have from the


minister today is not just that there will be a review but it will


be at the right time and all-encompassing. In one moment I


will give way to both. I mention I mention the role of the Select


Committee. The Select Committee has been key, my honourable friend for


Sheffield South East, as the Chair is an expert on this but he has help


from abled members on both sides. So any process of review should also


involve the Select Committee as well as local authorities themselves. On


the issue of funding, the prevention duties, like you, Enfield also has


the accommodation for poorest people, with the greatest need. We


want obviously this bill but isn't it a reality that good councils are


already embarking on prevention and doing what is in the bill and they


are doing it under the coming settlement and they'll welcome they


will have more money to do what they are already doing now. I think the


best thing to say is it there is a mixed economy of local authorities.


Some do very well. Some have to do very well because of the priors on


them and some do less well and part of the purpose of this bill is to


try to bring everyone up to the same standard. The honourable gentleman's


point cuts both ways. If, for example, Camden Council already


carries out prevention work, with 80% of people who present to them,


if that's right, then the savings that are likely to be made, because


most of the savings as I understand it are going to be by increasing


prevention work, and therefore avoiding the need to find


alternative accommodation or to in other ways fund the cost of


homelessness, then those savings are going to be less. So that's the


problem. The problem, will, after two years, as the Government hoped,


there will be none need to fundk, I don't think anybody believes that,


probably not the Government. I thank high honourable friend for giving


away. It isn't just a probably in London, in Wirral there were over


1,000 prevention and relief cases Wirral council taking action to


prevent homelessness occurring, would the honourable member agree


that any new duties councils have to take on should be fully funded both


now and in the future. My honourable friend is right. This is not just a


problem - it is clearly a greater problem in some areas than others


and the resident for this -- precedent legislation is the


legislation passed by the Labour-run Government of Wales which has be


been successful and we are seeing substantial falls of homelessness in


Wales. Of course there are areas in Wales in which there is a real


crisis, as there are around the rest of the United Kingdom. But, there


are also hotspots and the big cities and London, in particular, are


hotspots and we cannot rely on the example of Wales, for example, to


see that that is what would happen in England. It is still possible, in


many Welsh authorities for accommodation to be made available,


including to those who are not in priority need. In London Boroughs,


and I suspect in my honourable friend's constituency and many


others, that opportunity disappeared years ago and the reverse is true.


We spent sometime in committee talking about the disgraceful


attitude of Westminster Council who are sending their homelessness


homelessness quite literally to Coventry and I'm afraid other


boroughs are doing exactly the same. That's the issue we are grappling


with, madam deputy speaker. I will not labour thep point. We want


assurances which we believe that new clause 1 delivers. That what my


honourable friend rightly says is actually delivered, that there is


full funding of the provisions of this bill for local government. Yes


the Government has made a start. Yes, I think we are going to hear


more today about money, on the basis that some of the amendments the


Government is putting forward will have additional costs. We are


pleased with that so far but I say we must have that funding because


otherwise this bill will fail and local authorities will be in an even


more perilous state. Let me move on briefly, madam deputy speaker to new


clauses 2 and 3. We couldn't table a great deal of


extra new clauses such as this which illustrates what these new clauses


do, because you cannot look at the provisions in this bill in a vacuum.


We all welcome the great convery tracing, as the honourable gentleman


said, on prevention and welcome the new duties on relief that are upon


local authorities, in terms of assisting homeless people who are


not in priority needs, into accommodation. But, the pattern of


homelessness in this country is utterly bleak. And that is a perfect


storm which I'm afraid has derived from the Government's own actions or


inactions. The fist point, which is what is illustrated by new clauses 2


and 3, is the crisis in the private rented sector. The huge inflation in


rents that has occurred over the past few years, has meant that many


private landlords take advantage of the no-fault eviction process under


the 1988 Act, so simply say - you are on benefit and your benefit is


not, I can get more rent somewhere else or simply, I think I want a


different tenant, I don't have to give any reason for it, so off you


go. And that swift process, without


providing the papers are in order, without any argument to the


contrary, means that many, many thousands of people are presenting


themselves to local authorities civilly for that reason. I believe


it is now more than 40% of homelessness homelessness cases are


caused by private sector evictions and all the misery that that brings.


Again, this is not an insoluable problem and what is in these two


clauses would make a significant difference. This is a modest


proposal. It suggests that if there were longer tenancies, three-year


tenancies, and within the period of that tenancy, there were controls


over the level of rent increase, we would not have that th chaotic


market in -- not have that chaotic market.


I will pass over the typo in line 4 of new clause 2 to say this, does he


remember in the bill committee the average length of tenancies were in


fact four years and in his new clause 2 he is merely referring to


three years, does he not accept that there needs to be a billion to


encourage sufficient landlords snore I'm not sure what the honourable


member does when he is not passing over typos. His argument, I'm afraid


works both ways. I think the point he is making,


tenancies if they are longer than three years, what is the problem in


ensuring that is the case? Again, good practice would suggest a good


landlord wants to keep a tenant for a period of time. That gives


stability, continuity, there are no breaks in tenancy or additional fees


involved and that matter but not all landlords are good landlords and


some landlords are playing this lottery game where they think they


can get more money and we've even had local authorities outbidding


each other for tenancies, so desperate are there for that. As I


say, I think what the honourable gentleman illustrates is how modest


this proposal is and how reasonable it is, and when the minister applies


he may want to say what the Government' thinking is along these


lines. It is an not just an issue about homelessness homelessness but


these specific clauses relate to the issue of homelessness homelessness


and they say that would you would achieve the purposes of this Bill,


ie you would put less pressure on local authorities, you would have


less than a need if some land Lords were not acting in the manner they


are. That's the purpose of it. I appreciate given the time


constraints, unless the Government suddenly decides to accept them this


morning, we are unlikely to make progress on them in the course of


this bill but this is something we will return to again and again until


it is resolved. There is an extremely high rate of homelessness


in tooting amongst those aged over 60. I know Wandsworth Council


battles with this greatly Day in day out. Would you agree it is


absolutely unacceptable but we are failing the older members of our


society and people over 60 need to be taken into account? Would the


honourable lady mind asking the honourable gentleman to agree,


rather than asking the chair to agree? Would he agree, because she


doesn't care whether I agree or not? Would my honourable friend agree


that it is outrageous that residents aged 60 and over have to suffer in


this way and that he must do all he can to ensure the Government


addresses this issue. Absolutely, I know that you, Madam Deputy Speaker,


also care about homelessness in tooting. What my honourable friend


illustrates is that we are in new territory. I doubt 20 or 30 years


ago there were big problems, that we would be talking about homelessness


amongst people of pensionable age. It illustrates how deep this goes in


society now that we are worried about not just the groups that were


at risk in the days of Cathy Come Home but people who, at a time in


their life when they deserve and should have security and stability


in that way, and it illustrates that point. I am going to wind up now,


let me just say this, yes, it new clauses two and three illustrate a


clear point that is a part of the problem, alongside that is the issue


of housing supply and the terrible record, I'm afraid, that this


Government has on genuinely affordable housing, on allowing


councils to build and ensure there is specialist housing... Could you


not make it in your own comments? I thank the honourable gentleman for


his forbearance in taking my intervention. Does he not welcome


the record of ?3.15 billion that this Government is providing to the


GLA to provide affordable housing in London, which has been welcomed by


the London man? I welcome everything the London mayor welcomes! But I


think, let's not go off on a tangent other than just to say we were


beginning to make progress towards the end of the last Labour


Government and the best illustration of that is that under the coalition


Government eight out of ten council homes that were completed were


started under the previous Labour Government, so I don't mind him


taking credit, I don't mind him talking about additional building of


affordable homes and social homes, but they need to have their own


record, not to leech off hours. For the last time, I give way. I'm


extremely grateful. The Institute of Housing have estimated a quarter of


the million social homes will be lost as a result of right to buy and


other measures between now and 2020, so whatever assurances are being


given by the benches opposite, the construction of new housing is the


equivalent of turning on the taps whilst leaving the plug out.


Absolutely, and when I mentioned the quality of members on the committee


on my side I was of course particularly referring to my


honourable Friends on the committee. They put my feeble efforts to shame,


but their writ is. Absolutely right, we have a crisis in housing supply,


a crisis in the private rental sector, and we also have, which the


Government is directly responsible for through the benefit caps,


through freezing local housing, through cuts in supporting people,


we have a manufactured crisis of homelessness which we are now seeing


reflected in the figures I quoted earlier. I pay tribute to the


Minister for the work done on this bill, as well as to the sponsor and


the sincere comments made by Government backbenchers during the


course of this bill, but they cannot put their heads in the sand and look


at this bill in isolation from everything else that is happening.


When they have looked at that, they have to change their policy. I'm


sure we are going to get the white paper this year but when it comes we


will be looking for those matters to be dealt with and that is the


purpose of these new clauses, to make sure at this bill functions and


to make sure Government policy as a whole functions in relation to


homelessness, and that is why I would like to hear from the Minister


is not warm support and acceptance of the clauses, at least what he


intends to do in relation to them. The question is that new clause


one... I beg your pardon, de Klerk will read it first. Duty to


undertake a review of the Act. The question is that new clause one B


read a second time. Mr Bob Blackman. Thank you, it is a pleasure to serve


under you as always. It is also a pleasure to follow the honourable


gentleman fat Hammersmith. Before I start, May I draw the House's


attention to my entry in the register of members interests. I


think we should get back to the fact that this bill is about reducing


homelessness, and it is entitled to be Homelessness Reduction Bill. At


some stages during the honourable member's rather link the speech, I


began to wonder if we were moving off onto the whole policy of


housing, and I think we should confine ourselves to this bill,


rather than broadening out to the wider aspects. I accept absolutely


that one person sleeping rough on our streets at any one time is a


disgrace, a national disgrace. I have regularly gone on record, and


equally that we do not know the exact level of homelessness in this


country. So I start from that principle. And of course it is fair


to say that the level of rough sleeping has increased. It is all to


-- also fair to say that the level has increased of homelessness.


However, as the honourable member will well know, the level of


homelessness in this country peaked back in 2002three, I suspect someone


else was actually in charge of Government at that time. And there


was a reduction which took place as a result of both Government


intervention and local authorities taking appropriate action, but


actually no change in legislation. We should remember, Madam Deputy


Speaker, that legislation on this subject has not changed effectively


for 40 years, so we must get back to that particular issue. I would also


draw attention, we will come onto more details about the bill


hopefully when we get to third reading, but I would just a bench


and gently that we spent some 15 hours in the committee debating the


clauses, the 13 clauses in this bill, and there were opportunities


for amendments, and the honourable member for Hammersmith did make


amendments but then withdrew them before we could even debate them,


and therefore the difference between the amendments that my honourable


Friends the Minister is proposing later on and the proposals from the


honourable member for Hammersmith are that the amendments from the


Government's side are as a direct consequence of the debates and


discussions we had in committee and are there to improve the bill and


also to achieve what has happened in terms of discussions with housing


charities, local government bodies, representative bodies, local


government generally, and the landlord associations. So there is a


marked difference between those amendments, and there are 21 of


them, I accept, and the amendments being moved by the honourable member


for Hammersmith. The key on new clause one, and for those of us that


were members of the committee, and I commend my honourable Friends across


the House for their service on the bill committee, when they were


present at the last session they will be aware that the Government


has already given a very firm commitment to review the bill at an


appropriate point after implementation. I would suggest to


my honourable friend the Minister for local government that it would


be helpful if you repeat that commitment today and clarifies it


further so that no one is in any doubt of the willingness of the


Government to accept the fact that we have got funding, and I thank the


Minister for the funding of 48 million over two years. We hope that


that will lead to providing all the funding that local authorities need


to carry out their duties under this new bill which hopefully will become


an Act in the not too distant future. However, as I said at the


beginning of my remarks, we do not know the level of demand that the


local authorities will experience as a result of the new burdens that


they face. What we do know is that many local authorities are already


taking prevention duty already and that funding will be welcome to


those authorities acting in a good and positive way. But the reality is


that we could look at the stats from every local authority in terms of


how many people are turning up for help but we also know that the vast


majority of single homeless people will get turned away by their local


authority without any help or advice. Now, because of the major


change, the massive change not only in the law but the culture of local


authorities, that the numbers of people are likely to increase


especially during the first year... I will indeed give way. What we do


know is that across the House and particularly the Government are


committed wholeheartedly to fulfil what is within the terms of its


responsibilities, which has included financial responsibilities. If


beyond the spending round that we are in there are additional


financial requirements to fulfil the duties in this bill, having taken


account of savings, doesn't he recognise as I do that the


responsibility of that wholehearted commitment will continue? I thank


him for his intervention. Clearly we would expect, I think the whole


house would expect, the Government to recognise that there would be


potentially extra cost pressures on local authorities and, given the


commitment made by the Government, that they will continue to fund that


in the years to come. One of the problems of the amendments proposed


by the honourable member for Hammersmith is it proposes a review


after a fixed period of time, and that will be at. Frankly, I don't


accept that is an acceptable way forward. I want the Government to


continually keep this under review, and I'm sure that the communities


and local of the select Committee and the rest of the committee, who


are joint sponsors of this bill, will ensure that the Minister, or


whoever is the Minister at the time, have their feet kept under fire in


terms of... Long may he reign, of course! But he cannot commit his


successor to the position as yet, but what we do know is that we, as a


Select Committee, will keep this under review and will make sure that


we scrutinise both the level of activity and the funding that


follows. One of the key areas here, as the honourable member for


Hammersmith pointed out, there is a whole range of different activities


that are going to be going on by local authorities, and many of those


will be such that there will be additional funds raised and actually


costs reduced. One of the stats that we have looked at is that London


councils will only say that in 2014-15 the total expenditure on


temporary accommodation is some, was some 611 million. If we can reduce


that figure just by 5% then we will pay for the costs of this bill. So


that is one of the elements, because one of the problems about temporary


accommodation which happens with local authorities is because they


don't take prevention duty early enough yet then one of the problems


that happens is that families and other people end up in temporary


accommodation at the last minute in a crisis, which is very, very


expensive. So if we can reduce that Bill marginally, and 5% is not a


huge amount to seek to reduce, then we pay for the cost of the bill. If


councils across the country achieve the prevention duty, we will prevent


anyone from becoming homeless at all and therefore the cost reduction to


local authorities will be enormous. I accept there will be a peak in the


first year and I think we should all understand and appreciate that. The


Bill committee and select committee spent a considerable time discussing


how much time it would take for councils to prepare for the extra


duties the bill will require. Obviously they are going to need to


recruit and train staff, and change absolutely the culture that exists


within housing departments. So because of that, the bill is drafted


to allow the substantive clauses to commenced only once the preparations


have been completed. It seems to me that the new clauses drafted by the


honourable member for Hammersmith, could therefore put this commitment


to review the act before we have the data and before some of the clauses


have actually even commenced. I'm sure that's not what the honourable


member intended but I would urge him on that basis to reconsider his


amendment. I trust we are going to get a commitment from the minister


on reviews. I'm sure we will hold him to account and clarify that if


we don't get that amount of commitment, but I'm sure we will get


that later this morning. On new clauses 2 and 3 I must commend the


honourable member for his ingenuity in getting them in the scope of this


bill. But since they relate to the private rental sector and not


homelessness duty, I welcome the detail. But what I will say, is we


intervene in markets at our peril. Often we get be unintended


consequences. Can I draw the house's attention tension to some of the


problems going on right now. I'm a great supporter of longer tenancies


and think it has been regularly campaigned for and I would stress it


needs to happen. One of the problems in the market is that mortgage


lenders are very reluctant, indeed, to offer mortgages to landlords who


have having tennants that are longer than six-month ten an si.s I


understand recently a number of mortgage lenders have relaxed their


rules to allow for 12-month tenancies which is a very welcome


move and I would suggest, in the longer term, with the CLG select


committee we will be looking at that and looking to encourage that


process but, to implement such a decision in this bill, would run the


risk of actually reducing the supply of private selected accommodation


and putting up the rents of the people we are trying to help, so


this amendment today in my view is counter-productive. There is the


issue that mortgage lenders right now are insisting on between a 25%


or a 40% deposit for landlords and then insisting that the rent level


is 1.4 times the mortgage payment going out. The reality of that is


landlords are forcing up rents and the lenders are forcing up rents to


private sector landlords. That does not make sense. I think that's


something where Government policy is going to have to intervene. I also


think the issue of rent controls have been tried and failed. The


reality is that if you try and impose rent controls, what happens


is that rents are forced up to start with artificially. The market is


over-burdened with red tape and actually, the supply of rent rented


housing goes down. So, the scone sequence of that is we will actually


contribute to more homelessness than actually reducing it. So, for those


reasons,eddes Madame Deputy Speaker, where we woop end up creating more


homelessness than we've involved I would urge the honourable member to


withdraw his amendments, clearly a matter of policy, clearly that needs


to be debated and discussed. I would concur with him on the one aspect I


have been very clear on from the beginning. My bill, once it becomes


law, will not actually increase the supply of housing, the number of


units in this country. That is a matter for Government policy. I


think that's an area where we need to achieve that. What it will do, is


make sure that the experience of those people that are homeless,


particularly those who are homeless for the first time is such that they


get the help and advice and I'm very concerned that the amendments as


proposed by the honourable member would reduce the supply and make


the, would actually penalise the very people that we are so helping.


So, on those basis, Madame Deputy Speaker, I will look forward to the


minister spopding and also invite the honourable member to withdraw


his amendment. Thank you, Madame Deputy Speaker, I rise to support


new clause 1. As this is my first intervention on this important bill,


it gives me an opportunity to congratulate the honourable member


for Harrow East in bringing it forward. I think he has done so with


great persuasion, and has really performed an important service on


behalf of us all and indeed congratedlations to both


frontbenches for working constructively to bring the bill to


this particular point. I support the bill, Madame Deputy Speaker but as


good as it goes, we will be kidding ourselves today if we will leave


this House, pat ourselves on the back and believe we have done


everything this House could do to tackle what is an unfolding


emergency before our eyes. The reason I have chosen to come to


speak in this debate today is to reflect the rising concern amongst


my constituents in Leigh but a concern that is widely shared across


Greater Manchester that there are visibly increasing numbers of people


huddled in door way across our city region and people will not just walk


on bi. They do not accept it has to be like this. Homelessness and rough


sleeping is not an inevitable fact of life in 2017. We are wealthy


enough as a society to ensure that nobody should spend the night


without a roof over their head. And there needs to be a new urgency on


both sides of the House in bringing forward appropriate action to


address it. And that's the problem f there is with this bill, it is good


as far as it goes but in my view doesn't go anywhere near enough to


tackle the scale of the problem. And actually, it doesn't go cross the


mental response needed. A reality check, figures came out this week,


the minister will be aware of them, that shows a 16% rise in rough


sleeping over the last year. My honourable member in his opening


remarks made reference to that. In the last five or six years, since


2010, rough sleeping across England has doubled. It is going up at an


alarming rate. In Greater Manchester, the problem is even


worse. Across the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester, there has been a


41% increase in rough sleeping in the last year. I would say to the


minister, those figures, according to local officials, don't actually


reflect the full picture. They believe that tonight at least 300


people across Greater Manchester will be out on streets spending the


night there. Now that is simply unacceptable. And I don't hear from


the Government what they are doing about that. What are they doing


about that now to help people find warmth and help them find shelter?


As I say rough sleeping has doubled but this bill won't reverse that and


we need to have our eyes open to that. And that's why I support new


clause 1. Because it is absolutely crucial that there is urgency in


this debate and a clear commitment to review what is happening. Not a -


I take the honourable gentleman's point - but, a committee to review


from a minister at the Despatch Box, we all know that timetables shift,


the Civil Service will say - we'll review it in the autumn. That


becomes the winter and that becomes the spring much that's what happens


we all know that. It is not good enough. This problem is bigger than


that. We need clarity and certainty. There should be a commitment to a


review of how this legislation is working, both in whether it is


reducing homelessness, as the clause says, but, also, whether or not the


funding that the Government has given to councils is adequate. For


the reasons given by my friend, the honourable member for West Ham a


moment ago, I don't believe the funding is adequate. Here is how I


would differ slightly with my own front bench. I would say that this


review should take place within one year. There needs to be more


urgency. I believe that annual review would reveal - firstly, that


while I expect this bill to have a modest but welcome impact on


reducing homelessness, I don't believe it'll go anywhere near


addressing the scale of the problem and secondly, I think that review


will also reveal that the council funding that the Government has


allocated is inadequate. Let us remember, most funding comes next


year. It then reduces sharply in the year after that, then in the third


year there is nothing at all. I don't want to wait to the third year


to find out whether or not this is working, I think it should be


conducted immediately, Madame Deputy Speaker and within 12 months. But we


need to hear much more grft. If they want it tackle homelessness -- from


the Government. If they won't at that tackle homelessness and rough


speaking there needs to be a cross-government response. We


established in a rough sleepers department, when West Africa in


Government. I don't see that level of cross-Government working on this


important issue. But secondly as well as having -- department when in


Government. But secondly, there should be a


clear ambition. What is the Government's am billings on rough


sleeping? I'm in the aware of it. It is going up at an alarming rate.


What are they going to do about it? Will they put it into reverse? Will


they have made the same commitment I have made in Greater Manchester, by


2020 we should work to eradicate rough sleeping. It it is all very


well the minister looking the other way, and turning around and talking


to his colleagues. What is he going to do about rough sleeping now and


in the next few years? What zbft's ambition? -- what is the


Government's ambition? Are they committed to eradicating the


increase and go further and eradicate. I don't want to inject a


partisan note but I am I'm afraid we are doing nobody any favours if we


sit here today and think this is enough this. Bill won't reverse the


cuts to housing benefit that are looming. I will give way. I'm


grateful to the honourable gentleman for giving way. He accepted himself,


he wasn't in the bill committee or he wasn't here at contributing at


second reading. Had he had been he would have seen the cross-party


nature of the bill committee and the proceedings to date. The points he


is making whilst I'm sure are relevant to new clauses 1, 2 and 3,


perhaps don't quite to the point and don't attract the same cross-party


support that has been the nature of this bill to date.


Well, I hear what the honourable gentleman has said and I have given


my support to this bill, so there is cross-party support, he has my


support, the honourable gentleman has my support. Government has my


entitled to come here today to speak entitled to come here today to speak


for those people who will be on the streets of his constituency tonight,


who I know will be on the streets of Greater Manchester tonight. I think


I'm entitled to come here today to give them a voice in this house.


This bill isn't going to change their situation any time soon. I


don't believe it is going to reduce rough sleeping any time soon. So who


is speaking for them? It is not acceptable for this house to be


debating homelessness and do it in a cosy way without facing the reality.


That is the reality, rough sleeping is rising at an alarming mate rate.


I ask the minister what he is doing about this. I this this House and


more importantly those people out on streets, deserve an answer? I am


grateful. Can I ask him to take little regard for comments of the


member opposite because it is correct that in terms of the


provisions and culture underpinning this bill, there was and is a cross


of had party consensus we want to see ittismented. During the


committee stage of the bill and at second reading, virtually all the


direction comments from our side have been the wider con#23r


universal credits, and housing cuts and housing supply, the context in


which homelessness and rough sleeping exists is going this


reverse and it is right we should be drawing attention to that. I'm


gritful to my honourable friend. I believe she's absolutely right. This


bill solely focuses on the duties of local authorities. And we've got to


remember that those local authorities are operating in the


context, at the moment, of massive cuts to their budgets. So, we need


to be honest with ourselves about whether or not they are going to be


able to rise to the extra pressures that this bill places upon them. But


as my you honourable friend says, thisably do nothing to reduce the


cuts to housing benefit coming down the line and many experts believe


will make homelessness and rough sleeping worse. This bill does


nothing to reverse cuts to mental health services that is pushing more


people out on to the streets and it does nothing to reverse the cuts to


social care which is having the same effect or does nothing to build nor


affordable social housing I'm sorry if it injects a note the minister


doesn't like, but tough, he needs to hear that. He needs a better


response that this bill. If he thinks this is t it is not good


enough. This bill is a step in the right direction but that, I'm afraid


is all that it is. In greater Manchester, we are


committing ourselves, between ourselves and our councils, to try


to end rough sleeping. If we can do that at our level, the Government


should at least do something at their level. Madam Deputy Speaker,


in rising to support... I will give way. I am grateful. I am reading the


briefing note from Crisis, the housing charity, and I am quoting


directly, whilst we understand the intention behind these amendments,


we are very worried that there would be further amendments in the House


of Lords leading to ping-pong between the two houses. This could


result in the bill failing to receive Royal assent before the end


of the Parliamentary session, thus of the Parliamentary session, thus


killing the bill. My reading of this is that Crisis


would like the bill to go through without these new amendments. Does


he have maybe B1 that? I have also read the note from Crisis and I


think she will see that they don't believe the funding allocated to the


bill is adequate to meet the obligations that are being faced on


local authorities, nor do they believe that it will do anything to


address those wider issues around housing benefit however, I accept


the point that the honourable lady has just made. I have not come here


today to do anything to disrupt the passage of this bill, I think it


would help everybody to have a commitment to review bit, on the


face of it, so we all know where we stand and there is a degree of


urgency about how this House is addressing this issue. I hear what


the honourable gentleman says and I'm slightly disappointed by his


approach today in relation to the time that he's taking in relation to


the important report stage of this bill. It is as shame he did not come


and make the point he is making at second reading. That said, he asked


me the serious question of what this Government is doing to help with the


important issue of rough sleeping in Manchester, and I would just like to


say to him that we have already announced over ?600,000 for a social


impact plan in Greater Manchester to support entrenched rough sleepers


that have the most complex needs. Does he not welcome that work that


is going to be done by Government and with the Greater Manchester


authority? Every single thing he does to address this problem, I will


welcome, and I welcome that funding, but I do not welcome the alarming


rise in rough sleeping on the streets of Greater Manchester, and


I'm sorry if it is inconvenient to the Minister to hear this but I'm


absolutely clear that it is right to put those concerns to him. I wasn't


going to say another word because I want the bill to go well, but I'm


amazed by the chutzpah of the honourable member opposite moaning


about an excellent speech, relevant and pertinent to the point, on this


bill, given that people on the other side of this House, week after week


after week after week, talk out excellent bills! If the honourable


Minister doesn't mind, I would like to listen to what my honourable


friend has to say because it is pertinent, unlike the dribble


normally mentioned on the other side of the House week after week after


week. I am grateful. The Minister mentions time. If the Government was


making this a priority maybe the Government would be making time to


debate these issues, maybe it would bring forward its own legislature,


as a result of Private Members Bill. as a result of Private Members Bill.


I will welcome anything he does to address this issue but I am not


accepting that there is just a cosy cross-party debate today when the


number of the people sleeping rough on our streets is increasing every


single week. It is a bigger issue, I'm afraid, than just patting


ourselves on the back. More needs to be done, the Government needs to set


out today its ambition to cut Rob sleeping in the next few years, that


is why I am here today. I support this bill fully but let's be honest


about what it is, a modest first step.


I'm interested to follow the honourable gentleman for the,


because if I didn't know that he represented Leigh, I would think he


was representing some position in Manchester! I would also like to


commend my friend from Harrow East for the affected way he has brought


forward this debate and also for introducing such a sympathetic bill


on a compelling subject. One would hope every debate in this place is


worthwhile, but few issues could be more significant than the


legislation we are debating today. A bill which endeavours to make sure


no one has to endure sleeping rough on the streets of England, that no


one has to face the frightening prospect of a lack of a roof over


their head if no-one can put them up, and that no one has to be


subjected to the appalling mental and physical degradation that


accompanies homelessness. It is important to note that homelessness


is not the same as Rob sleeping, which I think the honourable


gentleman opposite perhaps misunderstood -- rough sleeping. But


we must not dismiss the plight of those who, whilst they may not be


sleeping on the street itself, are plagued by anxiety because of that


very real possibility. Britain is a developed nation with a strong


economy and I would be so bold as to say I speak for everyone in this


place when I say it is shameful that so many people in our country are


homeless and that we must do all we can to help them. Seeing somebody


sleeping on the street is of course and agonising thing for us to


witness but is more concerning at this time of year when freezing


weather comes, as we have two face even here in London this week. A


night out on the street becomes even more unbearable than it does as the


best of times. It is not possible to scrutinise this bill effectively


without understanding the complex nature of homelessness and just how


extensive the problem is across this country. Quantifying homelessness is


in itself an extremely difficult task. The way in which it is


recorded berries and even if a unanimous method were agreed and


employed, but numbers might still be underestimated as many people often


sleep out of sight and moving from place to place. Indeed because of


the appalling physical abuse which rough sleepers and in particular


women are subject to, many try to actively leave places where they


could be spotted. Despite that difficulty, Government statistics


show 4134 people slept rough on any one night across England in 2016.


Shockingly that is over double the number recorded in 2010. In London


alone local agencies report 8096 people slept rough throughout 2050


e-16, a 6% rise on the previous year. -- throughout 2015-16. The


rise is shocking since 2010. Does she think I Government is doing


enough to tackle rough sleeping? I thank the right honourable


gentleman. I think this Government is trying to tackle it, it is a


difficult subject, not an easy subject to deal with, and I do think


this Government is tackling it, and by allowing this bill to go through


I think it shows that they are taking it seriously. I am grateful.


One of the issues that both sides of the House need to be aware of is


that many of these people sleeping rough, even if they present to local


authorities, they will find local authorities do not currently have


the powers to help these people. It is not a question of money. Will my


honourable friend agree that the powers being proposed in this bill


will give them the power to intervene. I am pleased my


honourable friend makes that point because I can illustrate it very


clearly. Referring to a cave I had over Christmas, I had to ring the


helpline over Christmas for a family whose house had burnt down, it was


rented, they had four children, and the only thing the local authority,


Derbyshire County Council, were interested, not the fact they were


homeless and would have to come back from their family after Christmas to


homelessness so that they could continue with their jobs and get


their children back into school, was, were the children vulnerable?


Were they being abused? They were not interested in the homelessness,


said this is a clear example where the local authorities really were


not interested, even when I phoned in Christmas Day and several days


after that, we could not get Derbyshire County Council to put


anything in place for these people because their view was, well, they


are not homeless, they are staying with friends in Bournemouth, or


wherever it was, not that they had to come back to get their children


back into school and get their jobs back. I think there are problems at


the moment. As I was saying, homelessness is getting worse and as


such this bill could not come at a more necessary time. Breaking the


numbers down, several groups are at particular risk. In England, women


make up 26% of users of homelessness services but as a group they are


often much more vulnerable. There are high levels of vulnerability


within the female homeless population, mental ill health, drug


and alcohol dependency, experience of sexual abuse and other traumatic


life experiences are all commonplace. Interviews with


homeless women conducted by the fantastic homelessness alleviation


charity-macro two, which was quoted a few moments ago... Does the


honourable lady agree with me that organisations like Crisis backing


this bill shows the Government and my honourable friend has got it


right? Yes, I would agree with my honourable friend. The Government is


getting it right, it is acting, doing things for the benefit of


homeless people in this country. Did somebody else say something? Sorry.


As I said, Crisis show over 20% became homeless to escape violence


from someone they knew, 70% fleeing violence from a partner. I think


this shows that this Government needs this cross-party support which


it is getting, or was getting but it seems perhaps not as strongly as it


was, and that we do need to move forward for this bill to go through


and to go through successfully to the next stage so that it can become


law. I rise to speak specifically on new clause two and three in the name


of the honourable member for Hammersmith. The new clauses I'm


sure our well-intentioned and new clause two 60 of tenants assurance


on the length of their tenure and new clause 36 to give assurances on


rent increases, but I am concerned that rather than help vulnerable


people they will hinder some of the work of this bill as it stands. We


know private landlords are increasingly reluctant to accept


benefit claimants. This is certainly the experience at Portsmouth City


Council. The bill makes efforts to change this, new clause two and


three would frustrate this. Tenants are currently encouraged to remain


until evicted so that they cannot be termed as homeless. This is a


disincentive for landlords to take on cases from local authorities


especially under new clause two which would lock landlords into and


unbreakable three-year period if the outcome of giving notice was to make


the tenant homeless. Dishy agree with me that's the reality is you


are only allowed 50% on mortgage providers for buy to let on


tenancies of over one year, which will cause more problems than it


will fix? That has been discussed earlier today and mortgage lenders


could extend even further, even to three years or beyond, because we do


want long-term tenancies. But at the moment, under clause two, it would


mean landlords are reluctant to take on anyone who could beat authority


help, most of which would be vulnerable people in receipt of


benefits or on low incomes. A report from the landlords Association has


stressed that landlords do not usually evict responsible tenants,


nor do they not want to risk finding bad replacement and the costs of


addiction, nor do they want their house to be tied. What if they


wanted to sell the property or rented themselves? No provision is


made for that in clause two. As a result new clause two could propose


a strong disincentive for landlords to take on any tenant who might call


on the local authorities. New clause three, which seeks to cut rent


increases, would have a similar effect. As I have said, landlords do


not want to give notice unnecessarily and the recent


National Audit Office report this month shows private landlords are


not profiteering. Since 2001-2002, social housing rents have increased


faster than earnings. By contrast in all regions outside London medium


full-time weekly earnings have risen more than private rental prices, or


within one or two percent since 2006. New


clause three would allow provision to be made for London homes only by


setting a The Lovecats. The motivation for this presumably is


because in London rents have gone up by 32%, twice as much as earnings.


This would be a greater disincentive for landlords in London to take


tenants in receipt of housing benefit. The honourable gentleman


seeks to cap Private rent increase at CBI, get CPI would almost always


be lower than the RPI plus 0.5% cap that the last Labour Government felt


reasonable for housing association said the combination of fixed


three-year tenancies and the inability to determine their own


rent means landlords will either refuse to take on social tenants or


be obliged to give notice to get more rent increases. As it stands,


the bill seeks to work with landlords to ease the burdens on


tenants and local authorities. So new clause two and three, despite


Is a I will be brief. I recognise we work and I hope they


Is a I will be brief. I recognise we want to get to the final stages of


this excellent bill by the end of this morning. In terms of the wider


issue, of course this bill is only a partial solution and the committee's


report on homelessness drew attention to the wider issues that


need addressing. We need to build more homes in this country. We


particularly need to build more affordable homes and more affordable


homes to rent. Indeed the committee, specifically recognised that housing


needs vary why in different parts of the country. There are different


housing markets and that needs a different response, particularly in


response of tenure mix. We look forward to the housing white paper


which we understand is coming soon. We hope soon is before the end of


February when ministers will be coming before the committee in


response to our inquiry into the capacity of the house building


industry when we can pursue some of these points further about the


ability to provide the homes that are needed. Particularly from my


point of view, I hope that we do see and the Housing Minister seems to be


indicating this, a move away from the idea that starting homes and


shared ownership can help the housing needs. Hopley we can move in


that direction. Lots has been said about longer term tenancies. In the


last Parliament we supported that and we want to encourage everyone to


tenancies you can get a certainty of tenancies you can get a certainty of


an annual increase, which is different than having an artificial


imposed renting control from outside. Coming to the here and now,


money is absolutely crucially important to the success of this


legislation. I think we are getting a bit confused about the timings of


reviews. I think from a select committee point of view t would seem


to be two years on from to be two years on from


theismentation of the act would be a good time to review whether it is


working and whether the money is enabling it to work at that point.


-- two years on from the implementation of the act.


So I think we could commit to having a review, I hope the minister sees


that as a helpful proposal, we will look at it alongside Government in


reviewing the working of the legislation and the money at that


time. My concern, however, is while there is money in the first year to


help local government with start-up costs the act probably won't be


implemented after regulations have been put in place for about a year.


We have a second year with a limited amount of funding and in funding in


the third year which is probably the second year of actual operation. I


have concerns about that. I can't see there won't be any costs to


local councils, so I think there is a need for a more immediate review


after the act is passed with regard to that third year. Now, if


ministers are looking at potentially quicker, immediate review of the


finances, as soon as the act is passed, I think it will be helpful


and certainly the committee will be ready I think to do an immediate


review on that very limited basis at that time if that would assist in


the process. Thank you, Madame Deputy Speaker,


its a pleasure to follow the honourable gentleman for Sheffield


South East, the Chairman the Select Committee. Now, Madame Deputy


Speaker, many honourable, or the honourable and Right Honourable


colleagues that have spoken in this date have talked a will the about


the whys and where fors of process and who tabled which amendments


where and when and which side is more sankty moanous than the other T


almost springs to mind here. -- snactimonious.


I'm in the going to get into that. This is about outcomes for people


who are homelessness and who have unfortunately become homelessness. I


am able it speak to the two clauses laid out today. New clause 1 would


put on the face of the bill a statutory requirement for the


Secretary of State to review this act, no earlier than one year after


commencement and no litter than two years. And requires that the review,


considering funding for the provisions of the act. The


honourable member will recall that the question of reviewing the costs


of the bill was raised and discussed at length during our deliberations


in committee. But, for the benefit of those who were not there, let me


state my commitment very clearly. I will review the implementation of


the bill, including the resources of it, and how it is working in


practice, concluding no later than two years after commencement of the


substantive clauses of the bill. I will give way in just a moment.


I will also carry out, in the same time frame, a post-implementation


review of the new burdens, to review the robustness of our assessment of


the estimated cost to local authorities and the underlying


assumptions. As part of both reviews, I would welcome the input


and expertees of the CLG select committee and would be very happy to


discuss how they can be involved. The resources and funding


requirements related to these duties will also be considered alongside


all other responsibilities of local authorities, as part of future


spending reviews. I think it is also important to bear in mind that the


provisions of the bill will not be implemented on the day that the bill


gets royal assent, as has been acknowledged by the opposition front


bench. At committee we were very clear that the successful


implementation of the bill will depend on working with local


government to ensure that the resources, guidance and training are


in place before the bill provisions are enacted. For that reason, each


measure in the bill can be commenced independently once local authorities


are ready. Given this is a statutory requirement to review, tied to the


commencement date if the act is unworkable, since the substantive


clause will be commenced at a later date I would also argue that a


statutory requirement is unnecessary given the commitments already in


place and the long-standing new burdens assessment procedures. I


will give way. I would just say to my honourable friend, as he always


does, will he make sure that his Civil Service is completely aligned


with his objective. And secondly, I welcome his commitment to work with


local authorities, I know my local authority Broxbourne would welcome


the chance to discuss these matters with imhad, to make sure this bill


is successful, as I know it is going to be and can I finally thank my


honourable friend for Harrow East for his excellent work over the past


few months, making sure today happens and new legislation comes


into law. My honourable friend mentions an important point about


working with local authorities. And we are actually determined to do


that in the implementation of this bill. He know I have already met


Broxbourne before to discuss these important issues and I would


certainly be keen to do that again. He also mentioned my civil servants


and making sure that their intention is aligned with my own. I can tell


him that the civil servants working on this bill have done an absolutely


excellent job, in very testing circumstances, whilst the Government


has wanted to bring forward legislation. I think we need to


acknowledge that this legislation has been very different, in that it


has been a private member's bill that has been then worked upon by


the select committee as well. That is then not just had that input but


had input from local government association and the housing


charities. So, our civil servants have done a magnificent job of


helping us bring all of those groups together and coming out with a


product that has broad support. On the issue of working with local


authorities, he will know, it was raised in committee, my concerns


about Westminster Council's recent decision to discharge duty to


homeless people mainly outside local authority, and in some cases as far


as the Midlands. His colleague on the front bench. The honourable


member for Croydon South told me on the Sunday politics last week that


Westminster Council was wrong to do this and in the long-run it should


be stopped. I wonder if he can confirm that in the House today and


tell me what he thinks the long run actually means? What I would say to


the honourable lady and we discussed this in some detail in the committee


and I'm not going to go into great detail today but what I would say to


the honourable lady that the law is very clear on placements out of


borough. And we are absolutely certain, as a Government, that we


want that law to be observed and particularly in relation to making


sure that councils look at people's circumstances, things such as where


children go to school, and where people work, before they make any


decisions that may affect a particular family.


I will give way and then I'll make progress I'm grateful to the


minister. Spoke a moment ago about successful implementation and


reviewing that to check it has been achieved. Obviously that's partly


the bureaucracy, if you like, successfully implementing the powers


and money to meet it, so local authorities can discharge the


function but the clause says it is about the fact it actually has on


reducing homelessness. Before he finishes this point, can he tell us


what is the Government's objective? What test is it setting itself with


respect to reduce both rough sleeping and homelessness by 2020,


so we can judge whether or not that has been a success? I would say to


the right honourable gentleman that we have set out a significant


determination to reduce both rough sleeping and homelessness in


general. Nobody should ever have to spend the night on the street. It's


greatable at this point that that is the case and that Government is


absolutely determined to make sure that nobody has to sleep rough. But


I would say to him that it is a complex matter, as I'm sure he is


well awhich are. Some of the things that we are doing will have a


significant impact. So, for example, there is a challenge of getting


people moved on from hostel accommodation, into an intermediate


position before they are able to go into accommodation of their own and


we are bringing forward a sum of ?100 million for move-on


accommodation, which will - there will be a bidding process for, which


will open very shortly. I hope the honourable gentleman, in the spirit


of the way this bill, or the right honourable gentleman, sorry, in the


spirit of this bill will acknowledge that the government is not sitting


on its laurels and it does not see this bill be a the be all and end


all to deal with homelessness and rough sleeping and we take it very


seriously and are doing a whole package of things to try and improve


the situation for people. Madame Deputy Speaker, moving on to new


clause 2, if enacted, this would mean that private sector landlords


would not be able to rely on the no-fault ground for possession,


known as section 21. Within the first three years of a tenancy,


where the termation of the tenancy would result in a tenant becoming


homeless, lands Lords and in many case tennants welcome the


flexibility of the current assured short hold tenancy regime, which


does not lock the parties into long-term commitments and promotes


mobility. Without the certainty that landlords can seek possession,


repossession when required. Perhaps for their own family to live in.


Many would be reluctant to let their own properties. The unwanted outcome


would be landlords withdrawing from the market and this would not help


landlords or indeed tennants. Let me explain further, Madame


Deputy Speaker, that before the assured short hold tenancies were


introduced by the Housing Act in 1988, the private rental market was


in decline. Regulated rents meant that being landlord was simply not


commercially viable for many property owners but since since


1988, the private rented sector has grown steadily, grown from just over


9% of the market in 1988 to 19% today. I believe that the current


framework strikes the right balance between the rights of land Lords and


tennants and our efforts should be focussed on encouraging a voluntary


approach to longer tenancies for those who want them. With these


points in mind, I hope the honourable gentleman is going to


follow through on the comments he made at the start of the debate and


withdraw new clause 2. I will give way.


I thank the Minister. It is true that the liberalisation of permitted


development rights has released many more properties for rental and that


is a very good thing. Will he agree with me that pressure in changes of


fiscal policy in buy to let and four incidents in my own area selective


licensing is encouraging more landlords to resist letting


properties, and this proposal put forward by the opposition will


exacerbate that trend? I think the very point he is making I would


agree with, the more regulation is such that we lay on to residential


landlords, the net effect will be that the supply will reduce and many


of our constituents rely on renting private rental sector properties and


we need to therefore be very careful that the balance is right. Madam


Deputy Speaker, finally I would just like to talk about new clause three.


If enacted it would introduce rent controls in private rented sector by


compelling landlords to limit rent rises to no more than once a year


and by no more than inflation in cases where there is a risk of the


tenant becoming homeless as a result of a rent rise. Whilst I understand


the spirit in which this amendment has been tabled, introducing rent


controls is fundamentally the wrong approach and is not borne out by


evidence. Experience from Britain and around the world shows


rent-controlled leads to fewer properties on the market and less


choice were tenants. Returning to the situation that we had in the


1980s when the Private rented sector was in decline would not help


landlords or tenants. The key to improving affordability and choice


but tenants is to build more homes, rather than imposing rent controls.


Our build to rent fund has contracted investment worth ?630


million to deliver over 5600 high-quality homes specifically for


Private rent, our ?3.5 million private rented sector housing


guarantee scheme will increase investment into private sector


housing. We have also established the Private rented sector


affordability working group to explore options to reduce the cost


of the tenant to access and move within the sector. This group is


expected to submit its report to ministers next month. I therefore


urge the House to agree that this amendment is not desirable and as


with new clause two and hopefully new clause one with the commitment


that I have made to the opposition front bench I hope new clauses one,


two and three will indeed be withdrawn. Thank you very much,


Madam Deputy Speaker. Could I quickly thank everybody who has


spoken in this debate. I appreciate all the comments that have been


made. I thank my right honourable friend for Leigh for speaking


passionately about the situation in Manchester and the reminder that


these are problems that go around the country. I said in my opening


remarks that I would not propose new clauses two and three to vote, and I


don't intend to do that. The purpose of being here was to try to elicit


positive comments from the Minister, and we have failed in that respect.


We will return to these matters no doubt at an early date. Eviction by


landlords is the single greatest immediate cause of homelessness and


it does need to be tackled, and we are not living in the world of 1988


now, we are living in a very different and less stable economy


will stop I was disappointed by the minister's rather wholesale


rejection of that issue today, but I hope we will return to this on a


future occasion. More positive, in relation to new clause one, I'm


greatly encouraged by the Minister and thank him for entering into the


spirit of the discussion on that and for the specific words that he used,


that does give us the comfort we were looking for in relation to a


proper and timely and comprehensive review of the finances behind the


bill, and I'm particularly pleased that he said the chairman of the


select committee and Select Committee itself will be engaged in


that process as well as the Government, and I think that is


extremely helpful, given the time pressures, to get these matters


sorted out here rather than in the other place, and I'm sure the other


place will be watching and listening and on that basis I wish to withdraw


clause one. Is it the wish of the House that new clause one is


withdrawn? The question is... Where are we now? OK, sorry. I apologise.


I was waiting for the honourable gentleman... We come now to


Government amendment one with which it will be convenient to consider


Government amendment to -- two to nine. I am grateful for the


opportunity to move these amendments. I shall start with


amendment one. At our last committee session on January 18, I committed


delaying an amendment to clause four to ensure that tenants at risk of


becoming homeless were sufficiently protected and have access to the


required help and support. The committee agreed amendments to


clause one so that it now extends the period an applicant is


threatened with homelessness from 28 to 56 days, and clarifies that an


applicant is threatened with homelessness if they have a valid


section 21 eviction notice that expires in 56 days or less.


Amendment one to clause four extends the prevention duty to cover


instances where a household that has been served with a valid section 21


note still remains in the property after receiving 56 days of help from


the local housing authority under the prevention duty and is still at


risk of becoming homeless, specifically where is valid section


21 notice has already expired or will expire in relation to the only


accommodation the household has available. This amendment ensures


that in such instances the prevention duty will continue to


operate until such time as the local housing authority brings it to an


end for one of the reasons set out in clause four, even if the 56 days


have passed. If I may also address a related question about other ways of


ending a tenancy, raised by a number of honourable members during the


committee's consideration of clause one, particularly my honourable


friend from mid Dorset and North Pole, that clause and this amendment


address the particular need to clarify the status of an applicant


who has been served with a section 21 notice, but obviously people can


be threatened with homelessness in a number of ways, as was pointed out


to the committee, and any eligible applicant who is at risk of being


homeless in 56 days or less will absolutely be entitled to support


under the new prevention duty. I will give way. Does the Minister


agree with me that what we are doing today is absolutely fantastic, to


address this situation, but is he not shocked that the leader of the


Liberal Democrats is on the front page of my local paper today saying


that if a liberal -- if the Liberal Democrats were elected to the


council they would supply more than 1000 new homes to address


homelessness, and yet there is not one of them sitting on the benches


in this chamber? Well, I have been shocked, I would say, to my


honourable friend at how little but there has been from the Liberal


Democrats in regard to this bill. There is not one Liberal Democrat


here at second reading and, as we can see today year, they do not


appear again, so she makes a very good point that whilst at a local


level there maybe some suggestion that they want to address this


important issue, at a national level there doesn't appear to be a massive


amount of interest the Liberal Democrats. One of the concerns that


have been expressed not least by my honourable friend the Member for


Colchester is in terms of councils that seek to ignore statutory


guidance and will only get involved in terms of recognising someone is


homeless when the notice is served. Shelter have expressed concerns


around that in clause one, can the Minister give assurance in terms of


guidance and prevents on duty that councils cannot simply hide and wait


for that notice before they Act on vulnerable households and those at


risk? I can give my honourable friend that reassurance and what I


can also say to him is that the way in which the legislation will work,


it will be in the local authorities' in trust themselves to work more


quickly -- in their interest to work more quickly with people at risk of


becoming homeless and, as we discussed many times at the


committee, this will very much drive a culture change, this legislation


will drive a culture change, so people are helped much further


upstream than they are to date, particularly we are very, very keen


to end the practice of people waiting, all councils seem to


people, just wait for the bailiffs to arrive, then we will try and help


you. We want people to be helped far earlier, we don't want them in a


position where they face a court appearance and ACC J, which will not


help their situation further on in trying to secure further


accommodation -- or face a CCJ. Moving on, the remainder of the


amendments in this group relate to the issues we identified with clause


seven that were, unfortunately, unable to address at an earlier


stage. A key issue we identified was a workable balance between


incentives and protections in cases where an applicant with fuses a


suitable offer of accommodation at the prevention and relief stages. We


have been working closely with the local government sector and with


homelessness charities to resolve this and develop a way forward. I


want to thank all of those who have provided their expertise and


support. We will discuss the core amendments to clause seven in the


next group. This deals with the consequential amendments to clause


is four, five and six. Amendments two and four clarify the


circumstances when the new prevention and relief duties can be


brought to an end by the local housing authority. They would


require not only that a suitable accommodation offer had been turned


down, but also that accommodation would have been available for at


least six months. Clause is four and five insert sections 195, new


sections 195 and 185 he respectably into the housing Act 1996. The set


out the duties owed to those either threatened with homelessness or who


are homeless, both clauses contain provision allowing these duties to


be brought to an end where a number of circumstances apply. Amendments


two and four amend these new sections. I will in just a moment.


Amendments two and four amend these new sections 189 e-macro and 1952 at


knowledge that the grounds the giving notice would not just be a


refusal of suitable accommodation but also on the date the


accommodation was refused there was a reasonable prospect that the


accommodation would not have been available for at least six months,


or such longer period not exceeding 12 months as may be prescribed in


regulations. These amendments are relatively simple and ensure


consistency with provisions elsewhere in the bill. I will give


way. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, I appreciate The right


honourable member giving way and I don't want to take up much time in


the spirit of the cross-party nature of this, I want to pay credit to my


Council and all councillors in Richmond upon Thames on the work


that has been done. My concern is that every single homeless this case


in my area, in my constituency of Twickenham, is absolutely unique. I


have come across a small number, very small number of cases where the


actual homeless person has refused accommodation that has been suitable


and they have refused it for individual situation, they are not


section of all, but it is to do with mental health. Will the final


accommodation not be a full stop and can the person come back and ask


again for the accommodation? Auto What I will say to my


honourable friend, I certainly agree that there are many local


authorities across the country working very hard to help people who


are homeless and we hope that the provisions in this bill will improve


the situation further. In relation to the particular circumstances she


mentions a person may be in, what I can say to her is there would be a


position where a person could go back to that local authority for a


review. So, certainly there is a safeguard for people in that sense.


Madame Deputy Speaker, amendments, yes I will give wanchts I thank the


minister for giving way. Would he confirm my understanding that the


bill incorporates a particular and special safeguard that is a full


written warning before any duty is then withdrawn, so that is an extra


bit of protection to make sure those that are facing a termination of


duty know what they are getting themselves into? My honourable


friend has been a diligent member of the bill committee and I thank him


for that and he is indeed correct that there is provision within this


bill for, in that sense a final written warning.


We obviously want to make sure that there is an inventive for people to


do the right thing and accept an offer of suitable accommodation but


I think we also need to consider those people where there are


challenges and they do need that final warning to, in some


circumstances, perhaps, make them think again and actually take up the


offer that they have been provided with by the local authority in


question. So sections 3 and 5 insert helpful signposts in clauses 4 and 5


to ensure they are cross-referenced with clause 7. Specifically they


insert references to the clause 7 provisions about the ending the


prevention and relief duties in case whereas an applicant has


deliberately and unreasonably refused to cooperate and to


provisions about ending the relief duty where an applicant has refused


a final accommodation offer or a final part 6 offer. This shrimp


means that the ways in which the prevention and relief duties can be


ended are easier to see and understand when reading those


clauses. Amendment 8, together with amendment


6 and 7 deal with the provision of interim accommodation while a local


housing authority is helping an applicant to secure accommodation


under clause 5. Amendment 6 sets out that where a local housing authority


has reason to believe that an applicant may be homeless, eligible


for assistance and in priority need, they must secure interim


accommodation. It also sets out how this duty comes to an end. In cases


where the local housing authority, having concluded their inquiries


under the homelessness legislation, conclude that the applicant does not


have a priority need, this duty comes to an end into circumstances.


First, if the local housing authority notifies the applicant


that the relief duty is not owed. Second, if the local housing


authority notifies the applicant that once the relief duty ends, they


will not be owed any further duty to accommodate. Amendment 7 is a


technical amendment to the Housing Act required as a result of


amendment 6 and 8. Where an application has been provided with


interim - where an applicant has been provided with interim


accommodation and refuses a final offer, they may request a review of


the suitability of that offer. Amendment 8 ensures the duty to


secure interim accommodation continues until any review has been


concluded and the decision has been notified to the applicant.


And finally, in this group, I turn to amendment 9. The duties to


applicants under clauses 4 and #5, the prevention and relief duties are


to help the applicants secure accommodation. In some cases this


will entail the local housing authority actually securing this


accommodation directly, rather than helping the applicant by, for


example, providing a deposit guarantee. Amendment 9 provides that


where this is the case, the provisions of sections 206 and 209


of the Housing Act, 1996 apply in the same way, they would, if the


local housing authority secured accommodation under the main


homelessness duty. These sections contain various


provisions about how a local housing authority's housing functions are to


be discharged. For example, how they may secure that accommodation is


available, and how they can require an applicant to pay a reasonable


charge for the accommodation. Provisions also cover the


requirements relating to placements in and out of district, including


notifications to the hosting local housing authority. So, I will leave


it at that in terms of amendments 1 to 9, Madame Deputy Speaker and hope


the House will look on these amendments in the spirit this bill


has been conducted within and look favourably to support the said


amendments. The question is that amendment 1 be


made. Andy Slaughter. Thank you very much, Madame Deputy Speaker, I must


say after the 14 hours and seven sittings of the committee we have


heard about, I saw some alarm when 21 amendments over six pages were


tabled by the Government earlier this week, last week, and read


through them and I have to say on the first reading through was not


much the wiser as to what was happening. However, one perseveres


as one always does with legislation and I must say two things - firstly,


I do appreciate the difficulties that the minister and his sponsor


have had in squaring a circle whereby localp government, landlords


and the homelessness charities all need to be happy about the way the


bill is working, not the principles of the bill, which I think have been


agreed. I take that. And I also, am grateful for the minister giving the


time of his officials to go through in some detail about the clauses,


what the implications were and why they were necessary and I speak to


for my honourable friend on that as well. I don't take point about that.


It is questionable about whether it could be done differently but we are


where we are and I can say as far as the opposition is concerned, we do


regard these amendment and the second set we will come on to in due


course, as being either necessary, or improving of the bill and,


therefore, we are not going to be opposing any of them today. And,


indeed I can be fairly brief in responding. The only two concerns I


would raise are this: I think we've all struggled with clause 1. I think


when you start debating clause 1, I think in the sixth sessions of the


committee, you know that something is awry. -- when you are still


debating. And there had been real difficulties getting that operative


clause of the bill correct. I think it is still not perfect. Much of the


original articles had to be owe committed because it created more


problems than it resolved. The key point about extending duty from 28


to 56 days is still there. But, there are concerns. And they have


been expressed the concerns, but notwithstanding that,


notwithstanding the further amendments here which will extend


that doubty beyond the 56 days where necessary, that this does allow


local authorities to continue to drag their feet in some cases.


But, I think everything that has been said on all sides and the rep


finements here which add to -- refinements here which add to clause


1, certainly shows the spirit of this bill and I hope the letter when


we come to the codes of guidance attached to it, that it really does


require all local authorities to act at an early stage and to deal with,


in the case of section 21 notice, and deal with the issue of


homelessness and threat enidea homelessness at an early stage. The


-- and threatened homelessness. The other point made, and ministers may


come on to discuss this when we Dell with subsequent section, what


additional costs there are likely to be here, both in relation to


prevention assistance beyond 56 days and, which is quite proper, about


being clear about when interim duties come to an end and continuing


those interim duties while reviews are continuing, there are


undoubtedly going to be cost implications and I would like to


hear from the Government, not only that those will be fully funded but


whether those funds have been calculated and whether they are,


whether we are going to hear about them today? We certainly need it


hear about them before the bill leaves both Houses. But with those


two caveats and reservations, Madame Deputy Speaker, I think I can be


commendably brief in my comments. Bob Blackman? Thank you Madame


Deputy Speaker. I'm pleased to rise in support of the amendments to and


to follow the honourable member in Hammersmith. These amendments have


been sometime in coming, it is fair to say and I would commend my


honourable friend the minister and officials and also the homelessness


charities and the landlords associations in assisting us to get


to an appropriate compromise. The honourable member for Hammersmith


pointed out that clause 1 was debated for some time, well into the


actual debating time in committee. And indeed so was clause 7 by which


time we had passed clauses 4, 5 and 6.


And these of Government amendments today relate to those particular


clauses that we debated in committee and clearly the amendments that we


made to adelaus 1, in committee, had consequential impacts and needed to


be reflected in clauses 4, 5 and 6. They, of course refer to the duty in


cases of threatened homelessness, the duties owed to those who were


actually homeless and the duties toer secure accommodation. So they


are very largely technical in nature and follow-up on the changes that


the bill committee made in committee. The most important aspect


of this is that the prevention dutedy cannot end, after 56 days


with the individual or family still sitting in their current home,


facing eviction under a section 21 notice of the Housing Act and where


nowhere else to go. It is one of the consequences that clause 1, which


was in the original draft bill, got substantially changed before second


reading, after prelegislative scrutiny and then has been


substantially changed again in committee. And that has a


consequential knock-on effect with the other clauses in the bill and


that is why these are essential. I certainly believe that we've now


got to a position with these particular clauses that that will


help make sure that local housing authorities act at an early stage.


We do not want - and I think we should place on record and I think


it is right across the House. We do not want a single individual or


family to be told by a local housing authority - yes, you may be


threatened with homelessness, go back to your home, stay put and wait


until the court action follow and the bailiffs arrive. That is


completely against both the spirit of this bill and indeed against what


everyone wants to see. If we get to a point whereby landlords are taking


tennants to court, gaining possession orders, getting bailiffs,


getting County Court judgments against tennants, it makes it


extremely unlikely that those tennants, who will then be evicted,


face huge bills for cost, will then be able to get accommodation in a


private rented sector ever again. And I think the problem has been


that in correcting this position, that what we want to make sure is


the bad practice, followed by some local authorities, by no means all,


of telling tennants to go back and stay put has to end. That, above all


else, is important. But the individuals who are faced with


homelessness can get help and advice from the word go, once they approach


the local housing authority and that if beget to a technical -- and that


if we get to a technical position that actually the 56 days has


expired under the duty, then actually these clarification that is


my honourable friend the Minster is proposing, make sure that that


doesn't allow the local housing authority toned their duty. I think


that's a very positive move. The rest of the amendments in the


group reflect the changes which we made on Clause seven in Bill


committee, and once again ensure that protectionism is in place for


applicants. I will give way to the right honourable gentleman. I've


listened very carefully and he says he thinks protections are in place.


I'm looking at Amendment two, which guarantees a tenancy of at least six


months. As I understand that that is a reduction in the current level of


service, which is a tendency of at least 12 months. I'm not saying that


is wrong, but I want to ask the honourable gentleman to comment,


people often need the security in their tenancies so they can sort out


may be other problems that they may have, and is six months long enough?


Might it not lead to repeat homelessness as people do not have


that longer term security beneath them? I think the right honourable


gentleman. Clearly both in the select committee during our


homelessness inquiry, during the Bill committee, during the debates


we have had, not only in this plan that tenancies should be longer than


six months or more case doing some of the debates


where we've got this unrighteous circle if you forgive me, Madam


Deputy Speaker, of people becoming but in accommodation by the local


authority, that tenancy comes to an end, back they come and it is a


repeat cycle. We are all committed that we want to end that cycle. The


concern we had in presenting this particular legislation is that we do


not get the opportunity to convey -- change the loan that when hit, but


where we got to, in terms of the debate and discussion, was that in


certain clauses with the legislation there is provision for 12 months


tenancies, and we were just down the position to six months. With a cap


at 12 months. But remember, and the right honourable gentleman should


remember, there is the relief duty, and of course the duty owed to


priority need applicants. So there is a variety of different duties


that we are seeking to address within this legislation, and the


predominant aim has always been not to place priority needs -- need


families in a worse position than they would otherwise have been in by


the changes to the law. I will give way. My honourable friend, I pay


tribute to him getting this debate in the first place. I have been


listening to both sides, but what I would like to ask in the provisions,


with the Minister and this has consider the effects that would


happen to our service who live in Mac leave the Armed Forces under the


Armed Forces covenant? Because due to problems that they have, in


certain cases, and each one could be unique, but we are all issues that


are, and with great complexity, but the complexity, but, this. I'm sure


my honourable friend and that is used indicated that this is not one


of those occasions, at that point that my friend the Member for the


House made that there is a great deal of discussion, not really


within this has caused both sides of the chamber, but as far organisation


that the charity fight the case of people, landlords and association of


-- and others. So it is important you get this right. A lot of


follow-up on the As many as are of the opinion, say "aye". To the


contrary, "no". Forehand is, and page views and unfulfilled visit as


a form of a professional manner of issues. He is absolutely right,


coming back to Clause one, is a long time to get there. It goes back to


the heart of the fifth of that many of us have a Father Cullen working


of the legislation, says that one of the worst aspects of the way from


the families are treated, even those privileged to have a fantasy, is


that they are full to go away, successfully for the fourth year the


case, then the authorities in fact a court order has the faith and the


situation. For the cases, and the phases of life, and and is if as


that is the fact that the fact the fifth. The in the faith 56 days


division effectively and responsibility, the provisional duty


can you feel as if a family have settled the his father. And I have


observed that specific disease of homelessness in the section on the


serve, rather than a forgetful, this was an version of Clause one


activity on stage. I have the effect that the requirement to exercise the


provisional duty does not just lack of vision that is of a section his


sister is in what is to be very important of course is the code of


guidance. We talked at some length about this. I had a discussion


outside the committee which we then referred to in committee. The code


of guidance can be so important on how local authorities treat a family


with a Shelter It is also important in terms of


making sure aven evident, as far as possible, recognises a family's


individual circumstances, in regards to the schooling of children,


employment, the family members, care responsibilities and other things


they may have. They are absolutely important or indeed where a family


unfortunately has to be offered accommodation outside a borough,


that the receiving borough is actually notified of that family


coming. All those are important issues. Many are in the code of


guidance already, and they aren't actually implemented and properly


addressed by authorities. So, Madame Deputy Speaker, going on from the


final adoption of this bill, with an act, when the code of guidance is


issued, the minister has very helpfully said, in committee, he


will bring that code for approval by Parliament and I think that's a


really welcome step by the minister, I think we have said as a select


committee, that we will very quickly take an evidence session on that


code of guidance because we want to make sure that is right as well.


Getting the act right and a code of guidance that doesn't work, will


make us no Bert off, but getting both right ting -- no better off,


but getting both right means we can address getting homelessness and


homeless families better. And I welcome that we can get


legislation in the end, on a cross-party, cross the House basis,


really work. I thank my honourable friend for


giving way. Not only are we talking about the


code of guidance, but the provision for codes of practice to be issued.


So if local authorities fail to live up to both the spirit and the letter


of the law, the Minister or the Secretary of State will have the


opportunity to impose upon them that they're actually do what we are


expecting them to do. The select committee may well want to look at


the codes of practice as well just to expand our remote and make sure


it is working in every respect. Ministers have gone further and said


they want local authorities to come forward with an indication to


Government about how they intend to implement the act.


These are welcome measures, and the Local Government Association will


want to be thoroughly involved. So, Madam Deputy Speaker, with those


particular comments about how we need to take some of these issues


further forward after the Bill becomes an act, I am happy to


support the amendments that are before us. Thank you, Madam Deputy


Speaker. I would like to start by responding to the comments made by


the honourable gentleman for Hammersmith. I think it was quite


clear to all in the House at second reading of this Bill that there had


been significant concerns raised at second reading, particularly in


respect of the view of the residential landlords association.


In the spirit of the way in which this Bill has been developed,


significant work event took place to try and resolve that issue. So that


this legislation was not put at risk later on during the parliamentary


process. In terms of that work, it was not just done with the


residential landlords' association, it was done in conjunction with a


number of charities, and the Local Government Association. Now, in the


spirit of wanting to get the registration right, I will


acknowledge that the amendments that we are bringing forward today, it


would have been desirable to bring them forward before now, and that


committee stage. But unfortunately, due to challenges, and I thank my


honourable member -- my honourable friend for Harrow East, who has


outlined some of those challenges, and getting to a position where we


have a Bill that works across the housing sector, it has taken some


time to get where we are today. But I think we have now, Madam Deputy


Speaker, a good product so to speak. I would like to quickly thank the


various charities that have contributed to dealing with this


particular group - I will in just one moment - the charities that have


contributed to towards this. I would like to thank the Residential Lands


Lords' Association and the Local Government Association and,


particularly, my honourable friend for Harrow East, who has shown a


great deal of patience within all this. I would certainly like to


thank my officials who have worked tirelessly and all hours to tie up


with various organisations that I've already mentioned to try to make


this bill come to a position to give way.


If the honourable member could address this. Why cap it at 12


months? It seems it is encouraging local authorities to give offers of


shorter-term tens a sis rather than standed a offers of longer term tens


a sis. The select committee I don't believe recommended a 12-month cap?


Why was the Government inserted that? What I will do, if the right


honourable gentleman will forgive me for just a few minutes, I will just


clear off some of the points I was going to make and I will come on to


address the very point he raises directly. Now the honourable


gentleman for Hammersmith mentioned some concerns with that shelter had


got with regard to the way clause 1 has now been produced. I would just


say to the honourable gentleman that I can assure him that agreement,


before this clause 1 was tabled and the amendments was tabled agreement


was reached with Shlter amongst other organisations that this clause


would be acceptable. The honourable gentleman also mentioned costings


and we had a long, long debate at committee stage in regard to costs.


I hope he is - I know he has been reassured by my comments today,


particularly in terms of his willingness to withdraw new clause


1. I did under take to look at the cost of any aamendments that will be


brought to this bill and once this bill has been amended I will be more


than willing to share with the House what the additional costs will be.


I can come on to the comments my honourable friend for Leigh


addressed. I can assure him that the reference to 12 months means the


minimum amount of tenancy can be increased to 127 months by


regulations. So, basically, if the rental market changed, and if we


were in a position to change this legislation to reflect a 12-month


tenancy, rather than 6-month tenancy that provision provides us with the


flexibility to do so but it does not put a maximum cap on the tenancy


that can be secured. If a local authority is able it secure a


three-year tenancy because that's what landlord saufrg, they would be


able to take up that offer -- able to secure a three-year tenancy


because that's what the land Lord a offering, they would be able to take


up that offer of a longer tenancy for people who are homeless or


facial homelessness. In regard to the honourable gentleman's comments


for Sheffield South East and I would like it thank the honourable


gentleman for - I nearly went to far - and I'm not sure as to whether


honourable friend would be right, bearing in mind I have another


appearance before the select committee onp Monday but I would


like to thank the honourable gentleman for his part that he


played, not just on the select committee but for the part that he


has played alongside the honourable gentleman for Hammersmith and a


number of other Right Honourable colleagues, particularly the


honourable lady for Dulwich and West Norwood who is also on the select


committee for the work that they have been willing to do behind the


scenes, to make this bill get to the point that it has so far.


In regard to the code of guidance that he mentioned, it is absolutely


critical that we get that right. As the honourable gentleman knows, the


code of guidance will be updated. Within the legislation there is


commitment to put that before the House and we will certainly be


working with the Local Government Association in relation to that code


of guidance, to make sure we get it as right as we possibly can. As my


honourable friend for Harrow East also pointed out, there are


provisions in this bill that give powers for a code of practice. So,


the Secretary of State can make regulations to reinforce any current


legislation that is currently available in this sense. Or he can


introduce new regulations in regard to the provisions of this bill. So,


I think what we have here,m Madame Deputy Speaker, is a very positive


consensus from across the House, that this package of aamendments in


the second grouping, does actually improve the bill and does actually


seek to put the bill in a place where it'll make the bill far more


workable. I'll leave it at that. The question is that amendment 1 be


made. As many of that opinion say aye. Of the contrary noe. I think


the ayes have T with leave we will take Government aamendments 2 to 9


together. Minster to move Government amendment 2 to 9 forward. Move


forward. The question is that they made be made as many of that opinion


say aye. Of the contrary no. The eyes have T we come to Government


amendment 10 which will be considered to consider Government 11


to 21. Minister to move amendment 10. Thank you, Madame Deputy


Speaker, this is the last set of Government amendments to be moved.


I'm grateful for the forebearance of the House. As he explained in the


last group, we identified a number of issues with clause 7 that we were


unfortunately able to resolve during the committee stage. This group


contains the core corrections to clause 7 itself. We have already


discussed the related amendments to clauses 4, 5 and 6 and this group


also contains related amendments to clause 9, to, 10 and 12.


This deals with the consequences for applicants refusing offers of


accommodation made by the local housing authority during the relief


duty. The bill already provides that the local housing authority can


bring the relief duty to an end if an applicant refuses an offer of


suitable accommodation. The applicant can then go into the main


homelessness duty, under section 19369 Housing Act 1996, if they are


owed it. We believe that it is right, where


an applicant is made a suitable offer under the relief duty, they


should not be able to move into the main duty, by refusing that offer.


This is an important part of the balance between rights and


responsibilities for applicants. However, it is also essential that


if the offer is intended to be the applicant's final offer, appropriate


safeguards are in place. Amendment 10 provides that where an applicant


refuses an offer and the relief duty has ended, the applicant will not


proceed to the main duty but this will only be the case if that offer


reaches a particular standard. The offer must either be a final


accommodation offer or a final part 6 offer. And the applicant must be


informed of the consequences of refusing and of their right to


request a review of the suitability of the accommodation. A final part 6


offer is a suitable offer of social housing. A final accommodation offer


is an offer of an assured short-hold tenancy with a term of at least six


months in the private rented sector. Aamendments 14, 15 and 16 clarify


that a final offer of an assured short hold tenancy, made to an


applicant who has refused to cooperate, will be made by a private


landlord. This is ification into line with other


provisions related to private rented sector offers in the homelessness


legislation. Amendments 17, 1819 reflect the clauses introduced by


veryrep vent parts of clause 10, providing the applicant with a vee


view of the suit afblt accommodation and that that that review is


applied. At the moment, delaus 7 is drafted


-- clause 7 is drafted in a which that means the definition of


deliberate and unreasonable cooperation is drawn more widely


than we intended. Covering cooperation with the local housing


authority in the exercise of their functions under the prevention and


relief duties. Amendments 11, 12 and 13 make it


clear that the provisions only apply when the applicants refusal to


cooperate relates specifically to the steps set out in their


personalised plan. And finally, I turn to amendments 20 and 21. Clause


12 of the bill amend article 3 of the homelessness suitability of


accommodation, England order 2012. Article 3 currently requires that


when a local housing authority aproves an offer in the private


rented sector for those in priority need under the main homelessness


duty, additional checks are required to assure that the property is in a


reasonable physical condition, is safe and a well-managed property.


These additional checks are extended by clause 12, to those defined as


vulnerable people and to secured accommodation in the private rented


sector under the new homeless prevention and relief duties. Now,


Madame Deputy Speaker, in committee I heard some concern from both sides


of the House that this protection did not go wider. In particular the


honourable lady for Westminster North suggested other types of


applicant should be afforded this protection, including families with


children or pregnant women. These concerns were also echoed by my


honourable friend for Mid Dorset and North Poole, Colchester, Northampton


South and Chippenham, who all raised this as a very real and pertinent


concern. Now, I have listened very carefully to the points made. And I


am now pleased to be able to bring forward aamendments 20 and 21 to


provide that these additional checks are made for all those with a


priority need where the local housing authority secures private


rented sector property under the new prevention and relief duties.


This has been an unusually long list of amendments for report stage of a


a private member's bill I acknowledge but I have worked


closely with my honourable friend for Harrow East. As I have said


before, from the local government sector, and homeless charities as


well had to ensure that this bill is fit for purpose and I want to again


thank them for all of their efforts putting together now what I think is


a very, very strong package within my honourable friend's private bill.


The question is that amendment 10 be made. Andy Slaughter. Thank you very


much, Madame Deputy Speaker and, again, we have got a whole series of


amendments but the purpose of those being to either clarify or to give


certainty where it is required, to certain provisions within the bill.


And in some cases to either correct drafting or to extend the am bet


causes. None of these gives any problem and


I'm pleased to say having just reread the briefings, we have had


both the local government side and the charity side that although some


are supported more by one side than the other, as one would expect, they


are all, as the minister said, in agreement they should go forward and


go forward as a package: So we have on the one hand amendment 10, which


makes clear when interim duty comes to answered, which is something I


know that has been anxious to have certainty on.


And we have amendments 20 and 21, which as he mentioned were


particularly cold for things from Matt White by which all pirated


households are now included rather than just those who are vulnerable.


I think that it up at the bottom admission that having dealt with


matters which are at or an uptick in, as I said all sides are at least


content with them, the other thing they have in common is that they


incur costs. I think both particularly amendment turn and run


-- 20 and 21 have additional cost and I heard what about that, but


when the amendments are passed, but he ought to turn to the matter of


course. I hope that means on third reading, because I am assuming what


I've heard that the amendments are going to be passed and form part of


the Bill in a very few moments' time. And these costs are not going


to be negligible, I think obviously the Minister goes into this with his


eyes open, but it would be helpful if we can have that update today,


and if not, be told when we are going to have it. Because we need


not only certainty that this addresses the key points, but also


that it will be fully funded. But with those comments, Madam Deputy


Speaker, I don't think Aneeta Prem on the debate, because we have as I


indicated earlier gone through these not only ourselves and with the


Minister responsible, but also with the officials, and I think we have a


pretty keen understanding as to why these amendments are now necessary.


Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, I am delighted to rise for the last


time in report stage in support of this group of amendments. Again, my


honourable friend has introduced them in some detail and length, so I


will keep my remarks to the pertinent points. Let me start by


thanking my honourable friend the Minister and officials for all the


work they have put in to get us to the point of these detailed


amendments. It has been a long and almost torturous journey, I think


everyone would understand, to identify the various different


issues in relation to Clause seven, and working very patiently and


appropriately with the Local Government Association, with Crisis


and particularly Shelter, to resolve the issues so that everyone, as the


Member for Hammersmith pointed out, is in support now of the amended


Clause seven, as it will be put after these various different


amendments are approved. It is important that we wanted to get, as


I said earlier a position whereby changing the law, we were not


putting priority need families in a worse position than they already


have in existing legislation. But to bring forward a position whereby a


single homeless people and those not currently owed a statutory duty, I


given help and advice and a -- an offer of suitable position on the


certainly at the moment in the private sector but it is up to the


local authority whether they can find a socially rented property, to


provide for such people. So I particularly welcome amendments 20


and 21 two Clause 12. As my honourable friend the Minister has


pointed out, during the committee stage we had representations not


least from the honourable member for Westminster North who kicked off


that particular issue, raising the scope of current Clause 12 in


relation to suitability of offers in the plan had been there, Madam


Deputy Speaker, the local authority will inspect and approve every


single offer they are making, to every potential tenant. But I


recognise that during the process of scrutiny on the draft Bill, we


determined that actually the cost of that for a local authority would be


beyond a reasonable position. So we did centre on the position of


priority need, and indeed vulnerable people, and I am delighted that the


Minister has seen a way to ensure that that has been extended to all


those people, particularly pregnant women and other people but are


vulnerable. We've all managed to make this part of the Bill sound


very technical, but it seems to me that these clauses will basically


mean that the quality of private rented homes offered to families


will improve, and that is something a great many people would like to


see. I thank the honourable member for that intervention. We do not


want to be in a position whereby families or individuals which are


reaching a crisis point in their lives get put in completely


unsuitable accommodation or with rogue landlords who are unsuitable


people to be offering accommodation. That is the duty, I believe that


local authorities should carry out, and it is quite clear from these


amendments that we are proposing that we will get to a position


whereby that is collected in society. Ideally, no one would ever


be offered unsuitable accommodation, but I think we all recognise that in


certain instances that does take place. I also draw attention of to


colleagues that Clause seven is all about the deliberate and


unreasonable refusal to cooperate by an applicant. This is a balance, it


is not a case whereby, and I want to be abundantly clear to people, it is


not going to be a case that individuals who are homeless can


just turn up to the local housing authority and say "You've got a duty


to find me somewhere to live," fold their arms and wait for it to


happen. There will be a duty on individuals to make sure that they


cooperate with the plan, and carry out their actions under the plan.


And if the fact do so, it is possible for the local housing


authority to terminate their duty. So there are duties on both sides, I


think, here, and that must be the right way forward. But equally, I do


not want us to get to a position whereby an applicant is unfairly


penalised for some minor discrepancy on the actions. So, for example,


where an individual to fail to meet an appointment because they need to


go to the doctor or hospital or some other commitment, then it would be


unfair and unreasonable for a local authority to penalised the applicant


as a result. -- there will be a process therefore of tightening up


on the review process, making sure that individuals will receive a


written notice, make sure they are given the opportunity to review


under any unfair position, and as a result that the strikes the right


balance between wanting to ensure that applicants received a service,


help and advice, and an offer in the private sector or the socially


rented sector, with the provision they've got to take actions


themselves. So I am grateful to the Minister for his time and


forbearance, particularly on this issue which has occupied a


substantial amount of time for all of us concern. But I think a


compromise that has been reached will improve the Bill yet further.


-- the compromise. And ensure that all people with a priority need and


indeed those who are secured private rented accommodation under this new


homelessness prevention duties will have those additional suitability


checks carried out by local housing authority, to ensure the property is


safe and well managed, and on that basis, I trust that all honourable


members will support these and the other amendments that the Minister


has put forward, so that we have a suitable package of measures to


present to the other place, and so that they will see the wisdom of our


lengthy debates and close scrutiny of these particular proposals as a


package of measures that together actually improve the lot of those


people that are homeless. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I would just


like to respond to several of the matters that have been raised by


honourable colleagues. The honourable gentleman for Hammersmith


mentioned the work with the LGA around the amendment ten, and


certainly he is correct on that as he is in relation to the amendments


20 and 21 in relation to concerns that were put -- put in place in


relation to concerns as regards charities, particularly Shelter. The


honourable gentleman showed that he is extremely sharp as well in his


comments, when he raised the point about cost and the comments that I


made earlier this morning about when I would bring forward further


details of the additional cost incurred due to amendments that have


been made to the Bill this morning, indeed, my intention was to bring


those costs to the House once the Bill had been amended, and I will


not tease the honourable gentleman any further, but I will just in a


few minutes I hope be expressing further detail in relation to costs.


Now, before I conclude, Madam Deputy Speaker, I do just want to collect


one point that I have made this morning, when we dealt with the


second group of amendments, and I was responding to the points made by


the honourable member for Sheffield South East. He did raise the issue


of the code of guidance, and the code of guidance being put before


the House. Now, I inadvertently expressed that the code of guidance


would be put before the House; now, I am sure, going back to all those


long committee sessions, the honourable gentleman for Sheffield


South East will recall that it is in the legislation that the code of


practice will come before the House. Rather than the code of guidance.


But what I would do is seek to reassure the honourable gentleman,


straying into territory that might be quite risky there again, but I


would like to reassure the honourable gentleman by saying that


certainly we would welcome his committees -- committees involvement


in relation to the consultation process around the revised code of


guidance that will come out of the provisions within this Bill. Thank


you for the clarification, I think the committee will try and play a


constructive role and welcome the code of guidance coming to us, and


we will as quickly as possible look at it and get comments back to him.


I thank the honourable gentleman as ever during this process, he has


actually sought to use a very constructive tone to the way in


which this debate has been undertaken, and some pragmatism in


how he with -- we have been able to all work together, and that has gone


as well for the opposition front bench. It has not been easy at


times, but there has been a pragmatic approach to make sure that


we get this legislation into a good place, and get this legislation to


the other end of this corridor, that will encourage noble Lords to


support, not just the amendments that have been laid today, but the


overall Bill is a significant package towards helping people that


are at risk of becoming homeless or do indeed become homeless. The


question is that amendment ten be made, As many as are of the opinion,


say "aye". To the contrary, "no". I think the ayes have it. We believe


we will take Government amendments 11 to 21 together, Minister to move?


The question is that Government amendments 11 to 21 be made, As many


as are of the opinion, say "aye". To the contrary, "no". I think the ayes


have it. Consideration completed, third reading what day? The question


is that the Bill be now read the third time. Bob Blackman.


Thank you, I beg to move the Bill now be read a third time and, if I


can say, it is a very proud moment for me.


Hear, hear, hear. To reach this stage of the


proceedings. It has been a very long road to get to this stage. When I


was drawn out of the hat at number 2 in the ballot, and considered what


to take on I was minded that I wanted to take something that would


make a change to literally thousands of people across this country.


Little did I know how much work and effort would actually be involved in


getting this bill to this stage. And since the expert panel was convene


bid Crisis back in the summer of 2015, through the select committee


inquiry last summer, which many of us in the House participated in and


contributed, plus the presledge slative scrutiny that the select


committee consubjectinged in September, of the draft bill, and


finally, of course, the unprecedented several committee


session was some 15 hours of debate at committee stage, I think it is


fair to that there has never been private member's bill that has been


so well informed, and examined. This is a unique private member's bill in


respect that it has been the subject of a select committee inquiry and


ror, subjected to prelegislative scrutiny. I believe, Madame Deputy


Speaker, it is the longest with 13 clauses, some 18 pages of detailed


Lealifano ease, and probably will be the most expensive and I look


forward to some good news from my honourable friend the minister, in a


few minute's time, for additional funds allocated in addition to the


?48 million he has already set out. And clearly, at this point, I would


like to thank a number of people who've got us to this stage and also


organisations. It is clear that whilst I may be the


sponsor and leader of the bill, it is a team effort. So the


contribution of the communities and local government select committee


and its chai, the honourable member for Sheffield South East has been


invaluable. I think it is fair to say we could not have got to this


will stage without that output N particular, the presledgiative


scrutiny provides an absolute example that we should all consider,


should we, any of us, be fortunate enough in the future private


member's bill ballots. Committee members have continued to offer


their expertise to the bill committee and I thank them for their


time and constructive support. I would obviously place on record at


this point in time my thanks and appreciation to all the members of


the bill committee for their hard, dedicated work, asking constructive


questions, scrutinising the proposed legislation in detail and I believe


that one of the reasons why we have some 21 government amendments tabled


and passed today is a direct consequence of the very detailed


work that has been done, to ensure that we get this bill absolutely


right, in the right place. But, Madame Deputy Speaker, I do think


that bills such as this should not be left to a lottery. And I'm minded


that the recommendations from the procedure committee, of which I have


the honour of serving on, recommend that in future that the first four


private members' bills be subject to a bidding process through the


backbench business committee so we ensure that bills that have


cross-party support are well-reserved, can get to this


House, rather than depending on the lottery procedure that we currently


have. I would also like to thank,


particular thanks to Crisis. They've supported me from the start and,


indeed facilitated consultations right across the #350es, to make


sure that we deliver this bill in a proper state.


There's clearly been a huge amount of interest from across the country


a whole host of groups and I would particularly like to thank the Local


Government Association, the individual local authorities,


crisis, obviously, shelter, St Mungoess. The Nags a Landlords


Association. The Regulars dense Landlords Association, and many


others who have written to me or spoken to me about this bill. -- The


National Landlords Association. And I know members across the House


willp want to mention their own charities and help groups which


provide much-needed help and assistance to rough sleepers and


people who are homeless but all the advice I have received, the


challenge and insights from working with the very people that are at the


sharp end have enabled me to ensure that we get this very strong bill


into the best-possible place, for us to send it to the House of Lords


and, I believe most importantly, it will have a long-lasting and


critical impact to people who suffer from the crisis of being homeless.


I would, of course, like to thank my honourable friend, the Minister for


Local Government, the honourable friend from Nuneaton for supporting,


championing the bill from the outset and ensuring that we've got the full


support of the Government. Not only has he committed a considerable


amount of his own personal time and his ministerial time, but also


ensured that we had the resources from the officials, to ensure that


we got the bill to the absolute position that we are in. He's


followed through on his commitment to fund the new burdens, associated


with the bill and as I've said, the Government will be providing ?48


million for funding for local government to implement the new


duties in the bill. Now clearly we do not know as yet whether that be


sufficient to meet the new duties under the bill. I recognise that and


I'm delighted the minister has committed to reviewing this figure


in relation to not only the amendments we pass today but also


the new burdens that we are placing on local authorities. So, I thank my


honourable friend the minister and all the officials for their work in


getting the bill to this point. I would also like to thanks on the


record, my parliamentary assistpant, Martine Martin.


Hear, hear. For those of you that haven't had the pleasure of meeting


her, she has ensured that we have kept the whole process in a smooth


manner. Her calmness has kept me calm. And I owe a particular debt of


gratitude to her. I would also like to thank the honourable member for


Hammersmith. Hear, hear. It comes hard, I know, at times... Just the


once And all the members of the committee on the Opposition side for


ensuring the bill has been well-scrutinised and in good shape


ahead of report today. But equally importantly, I would like to thank


all the honourable members who are in the House today to wish Godspeed


to this bill so we get it on the statute books as fast as possible.


Many were here during second reading and we had some 39 individual


speeches at second reading, way back in the 28th October. Many of you


have followed the progress of the bill with interest and many have


subjected me to appropriate scrutiny and challenge on the details of the


bill and as the honourable member for Hammersmith pointed out, I have


rapidly become an eggs spert in homelessness and housing law, even


though I have no background in law whatsoever. -- expert.


Shame. But I thank everyone for their time,


effort and dedication to the bill. But, we must remember that this is a


process and above all else, we arismenting a bill that changes the


law, but it is -- we arismenting a bill that changes the law -- we are


implementing a bill which changes the law, but it is the members of


society who are rough sleeping or faced with homelessness, that must


get the home and support they need and deserve. I have said from the


word go that one rough sleeper on our streets I regard as a national


disgrace. The fact we have so many is something we must put an end to.


Equally, I have said from the word go, we are not in the position


whereby this bill, which hopefully will be become an act, will deliver


any new housing units and that is part and parcel of a new strategy


that I look forward to the Government pursuing. What it does do


is change the law and the requirements on local authorities to


ensure that they deliver help and advice to vulnerable people that


need that at a crisis point in their lives. It is also a massive culture


change for local authorities and we should not underestimate how much of


a culture change it will be. I passionately believe that people


enter public service to help people, not to deny them service. And at the


moment, for 40 years, we have routinely, at local authority level,


denied people, vulnerable people service and help and advice and that


has to come to an end. That will be a big shock for most local housing


authorities when the bill becomes law and the various different


regulations are laid. But the key point here is: We are aiming to


ensure that people face the prospect of having nowhere to live. We move


on from an approach where homelessness is always a crisis to


one where local Government has the duty and ability to work with people


as early as possible, so they never get to a position of being homeless.


So, we can help them tackle their housing issues, their welfare


issues, before the crisis point is reached. So, I sincerely hope that


the work we've done over the last year will make a significant


difference and I firmly believe it will. So, I end, as I said, I'm


extremely proud to be standing here today, with the support of the whole


House. Hear hear. In bidding the Bill, God speed, a safe passage


through the other place and ending homelessness for once and for all.


The question is that the Bill be now read a third time, Andy Slaughter.


Thank you very much, Madame Deputy Speaker. Let me begin where the


honourable gentleman who sponsored the bill left off in wishing this


bill every success in completing its stages as it leaves here and goes to


the other place. And, echoing some of his thanks. But let me start by


thapging him because the effort that he has put in to this bill has been


extraordinary. I suspect that how long he decides it stay in this


House but whenever he departs this will be one of the things that he is


most proud and this will be lasting testimony to the work he has done


and I'm sure many of us are very envious of that in some ways, that


he will have that but it is well-deserved. He has put the time


and effort and hours in and had to, probably, I suspect now he was


thinking - it is all worth it but I suspect there were times he doubted


that. I would also say, the bill would not have got where it has got


without Government support and that needs to be acknowledged as well, as


well as our support and that of others, but I think, I must say that


this minister has been particularly aciduous in pushing it through and


I'm sure that he, although he may or may not reveal this when he comes to


speak, has had equally some difficulty with his colleagues and


other departments in doing that. And I think the sponsor will recognise


his personal devotion to it as well and count that as a success. But let


me extend to to all members who have been involved on both sides. But, it


has been helpful to me and particular thanks to the Labour


committees of the committee who are behind me, Dulwich and West Norwood


and Westminster North and indeed the honourable member for Chester who


have absolutely shared the process and the burden with me and have


brought their very considerable expert ease to this, but I'm sure


the Minster responsible will say the same about members on their side.


It's been a good session. We must also acknowledge - both because they


have stood up strongly for their own interests but also in the end they


wanted the bill to succeed and get through the various interest groups


- landlords, charities, but let's not forget local Government. Because


it is local Government who are going to have to execute the provision of


this bill on whom the burdens fall and who know more than anybody else


the difficulties, particularly given the levels of funding and the demand


that there is in dealing with homelessness, and those officers and


councillors who are at the sharp end of this, I think also deserve our


thanks. They do fail - some authorities have got lamentable


records in relation to these issues but many do their very best, under


difficult circumstances and I know that's true of my own kournings I'm


sure it is of many others. So I say this is a collective


effort, and the last mention I will give is to the select committee


because I think that has formed the basis on which this Bill can go


forward. And it has as the Member for Harrow he is said, been


something of a template for the way that particularly complex private


members bills like this can go forward. -- harrow is. So I hope


like him that this can be a president, and this will require a


change not just in the way of the House's procedure is but a change in


the way some of our colleagues approach private members bills as


well. Because we've discussed it for so long, it is quite easy to


actually cross over what the Bill does, but it does two or three


issues which are very fundamental. It introduces the prevention dude,


and although as has been said, it is something which the previous Labour


Government encouraged by its legislation which I know -- and


which I know that the best practising Government also


encourages, and that is a very major change in the way homelessness is


addressed. It extends the relief due to to anybody who is currently


homeless. And clearly the assistance which is to be given to the


non-priority homeless cannot by reasons of resources be as is those


priority, that this can unfold. And let us not forget also the duty to


cooperate, there was quite extensive discussion about this, and perhaps


doesn't go as far as some of us would like a Mike with an amendment


in the late committee, in requiring that, because I think that we all


have, local authorities cannot avoid their responsibilities, we know that


the homelessness sector, the charities, have been king and


perfecting the way they did have, and sometimes some of service,


edition, do a good job. Read -- we believed everyone to step up to the


plate on this, we are pleased to see it but I hope we hear more that


because very easy for people to see these things are too difficult. That


people have now to help us, they have to come out, Campbell and from


charities and local government, everybody has to do their bit. So


this is a significant piece of legislation going forward. I'm not


going to repeat what I said in the opening debate here, in terms of


what remains to be done. Let me just say two things. The first thing is,


what I would like to see in chapter one of the White Paper is the same


commitment from the Government is why right honourable friend gave


before Christmas about a future Labour Government, is that rough


sleeping will be eliminated over the course of a single parliament. We


saw those shocking figures earlier this week, 4134 people sleeping


rough in England, 16% increase. 134% increase over 2010. And I could not


agree more with the Member for Harrow East when he says that one


person in that situation is one person to many, and 4134 is a


national disgrace. But it is a manageable figure. There are many,


many other aspects to homelessness which are also get much worse of it.


If one looks at statutorily homeless households, they have increased by


almost 50% since 2010 crap and understanding at just under 60,000.


Problems overcrowding, housing conditions are all need to be


tackled. But the first stop has to be dealing dealing with in the


street homelessness, and I would particularly look at what it in that


White Paper Web adds up over whether that issue is dealt with. Because


that would, but if that is, but that would be an effective way of dealing


with the points that through the process of this Bill, where we say,


yes, legislation is great, it is not actually going to of itself build


one more house for one more person. So, that is what I would plead with


the Minister to do, and in doing so are up -- I applaud him in taking


the lead on that, but he would be the first person to say


congratulations at the Government do go ahead with that. Final thing I


would say is there are so many aspects that need to be dealt with


to start tackling homelessness, but we could think that it is just too


much. But I was impressed by what -- the briefing that Shelter is another


be able to help people under new duties, councils were significant


levels of existing published this will require not only additional


resources but adequate supply of accessible, in the social, private


rented sector. That is self-evident that two things that are top of


their wish list, reversed the freeze on local housing allowance, and an


indefinite suspension of the full sale of high-value council homes in


areas with high levels of homelessness now, neither of those


is going to be check solve the problem, they rendered most


effective steps that art, but the two most obvious way in which it is


actively making the situation worse. And it is very difficult to accept


the Government's wholehearted support for this Bill, but at the


same time they are pushing those measures through. And I say this


from a very clear personal knowledge, in my own constituency,


where, during the time that there was a Conservative council in charge


for eight years, homelessness -- social houses were regularly sold


when they became vacant. So several hundred individual homes were sold


off at market rates rather than being used to rehouse homeless


families. Now, if we see, and that has created devastating problems,


which we are still suffering the prostitute -- consequences of. If


that is replicated on a grand scale across the country, and in my


borough that would mean over time 50% of council homes being sold off,


then the homelessness situation is going to become a far, far worse


situation than it has been. The second point on local housing


allowance rates, this is utterly distorting the local housing market


and leading to what the Minister and others have said today, they do not


want to see people being forced out of central London,


being forced altogether, forced out of the south-east altogether,


separated entirely from their support networks, their families,


sometimes their jobs, their children, their schools -- the


children's schools. I'm seeing another disturbing trade -- trend


that I hoped never to see occurring, I refer to a case I had in surgery


only last week, where landlords are is at rates which are just within


local housing and, but doing so letting properties are in an unsafe


and a great conflict which had no proper that we were in danger of


collapse. Hats and conditions that I thought I would never see in the


country. The Government has to come to terms with the effect of its own


policy on individual families living in the private sector for that


reason. And I begged them to look again at the freeze on local's


housed bounce rate persons from Senator and let me forget -- return


finally to say this Bill is a good Bill. We were to its further stages


in the other we will do we can to assist it. And to ensure that it is


enacted. We wish to see, and I am still looking forward to the


Minister's comments in relation to that extra funding, and I know there


are people in council finance departments all over the country who


are hanging on his every word for that. So let us celebrate the Bill


today, but that is all so be aware of how much we need to do if we are


to tackle one of the worst crisis is -- rises in homelessness certainly


in my political lifetime, and one of the worst riots in -- on our


society. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I rise to congratulate my


honourable friend for Harrow East on getting so close, and relatively


speedily, but what I think is interesting is that most of our


constituents will not understand that private members bills are


really hard to get to the stage. And very few make it. So I think he has


done incredibly well. Obviously from what he said earlier, with a lot of


help from an awful lot of people, not least a couple of the members


opposite, he praised. I think this is a cross-party working, to help


vulnerable people out there, is one of the most important that we as is


of Parliament that he is fortunate enough to be drawn hard enough the


ballot to be given this opportunity to bring something into law.


Homelessness is very difficult. I would have, as may be some members


but not many in the chamber will remember, the original programme


Cathy come home,. So we have progressed hugely in terms of not


having those sorts of problems appearing on our streets today. I


think the honourable member for Hammersmith, who spoke earlier, talk


and -- talk about private rented landlords, who, I think this is a


bigger problem in London than places like Mid Derbyshire, we don't have


the sorts of landlocked, they are better sorted out I think by local


authorities in places like publisher and they are in them, I think it is


a much harder market in London to be able to focus on. -- places like Mid


Derbyshire. But I would like to focus on something else, women are


one of the most vulnerable groups when they are out on the streets,


they are very often going out because they have been abused by


their partners or husbands or whoever. It is a very difficult


situation, when a vulnerable young woman or any age woman is thrown out


on the streets or choose to leave, and goes as rough, and I do have


experience of this with a family member, who had to because she was


being beaten up very severely, to the point where she ran away and set


out on the street and went back because nowhere else to go or so she


thought. She eventually went back to her family. But it was a very


difficult situation, if you are in London and you are vulnerable like


that, it doesn't matter where you are, it depends where you're support


mechanism is, to be able to pick you up and help you out in that


situation. But some people have nowhere to go, and it may be due to


being in care as a child, and latterly aerial, and we know as


constituency MPs have mentally and are out there, who write to us on a


regular basis on a huge range of issues, that they write to us


because they do not nowhere else to go. And so the the most vulnerable


people almost at other reasons. And in the east talk about all that


helped him in prepared this Bill. -- honourable member for Harrow East. I


would like to picture it to many other charities I have worked with


at the end of the show of art vulnerable people, and I commend


them for the above. In addition to not only helps vulnerable people and


houses them overnight and for some is extended periods, but helps them


with getting additional skills so that they can eventually get a job,


as well as housed, because very often the people who are out there


on the streets and are homeless don't have a job, because they have


missed out corruption. At the heart at this time of year the city centre


churches have cut the two up and that week so that there are seven


chapters submitting this, so that people do not have do sleep out in


this really cold weather that we are experiencing at the moment. -- seven


churches submitted -- supporting this. Even the cathedral in Derby


has opened -- has opened it is. -- opened its doors.


The YMCA have been going for many, many years and to help particularly


young people who are homeless, but not exclusively. I am sure all of


these organisations will really appreciate this bill coming into


power, into law, and I think it's something that my honourable friend


said he felt very proud, standing up here, talking about it and getting


so close. So he should, he should really take the praise that he


deserves, because this is tackling a problem that many people would have


liked to have tackled, and I am very pleased that this Conservative


government is supporting him. One of the things, when women are out on


the streets, they are more vulnerable, there are fewer places,


I think, where they feel safe to ask for help, because it is


predominantly men. I remember very clearly walking through the centre


of Derby one evening after I had been to a council meeting, and I


don't generally give money to beggars on the streets, because I


feel that I would rather give the money to a charity who will help


them. But actually this particular woman came up to me and asked me,


she said, I'm in the middle of my period, I have no money, and I can't


buy any Tampax. I had never actually thought about that, and I thought,


actually, I will give her some money for that, because that is something


that every woman will appreciate and understand, that it is very


difficult if you are on the street and have no money and you have a


period. I think that is one of the things that maybe we forget about.


So as I say, IDG of the money. It went on that or whether she bought


drugs, I will never know, but I hope that it was a genuine call for help.


This poor young woman did look freezing cold and did need help from


people, and I hope that this bill today will help. I mentioned earlier


also this family from borrow wash, who found themselves homeless, they


were in private rented house that burned down, and they had no ensure


it's because they were very poor. They both work, they have four


children, and they don't have any savings to fall back on, so they


have received some money through crowdfunding, which has helped them


get back on their feet, but they are the sort of people who have a


problem with private landlords, because apparently it is the


landlord but if they have... All the council were


interested in was the children being abused, are vulnerable children? All


children who are homeless are vulnerable, but so were the parents,


and I did not feel the mechanisms were in place. Eventually Derby City


Council, who I would not normally praise for very much at all, did


step in and help this couple with their children. So I am absolutely


delighted now that we can have this bill, I wholeheartedly supported, I


think the honourable member for Harrow East and many others have


worked incredibly hard to get it to this point where it will be on the


statute books, and I would like to commend him for his hard work and


support this bill and support the Minister. Clive Betts. Thank you,


Madam Deputy Speaker. This is a time for congratulations, and I shall not


disappoint, but I will say at the beginning that we should still


remember that tonight in a rich country like the United Kingdom,


there will be people sleeping rough on our streets, there will be


individual sleeping on sofas that belong to friends, there will be


families trying to live with their relatives in overcrowded


accommodation. There will be other families living in unacceptable and


inadequate interim accommodation. That is the situation. And I think


we also just have to be careful not to give the impression that, as a


result of this legislation, all these problems will be resolved. It


will make a contribution towards solving the homeless problem, but it


won't actually solve it. It will help reduce the issue of


homelessness, but it will not solve homelessness of itself. But


congratulations are dues, particularly to the honourable


member for Harrow East, and I think this occasion, yes, my honourable


friend the member for Harrow East, I will reciprocate on that basis. I


don't think we should underestimate the amount of time, sheer hard work


and effort than tea has put into delivering this bill to this stage.


And forbearance, there must have been times when he was tearing his


hair out! Same situation, but tearing his hair out at the


complexities, at the need to try and get different competing forces


together to take this forward on a consensus basis, and that is not


necessarily been an issue with consensus in the house, but outside,


which everyone does not always appreciate. So many thanks and


congratulations from the whole of this house, I think, to the


honourable member for what he has done. And the cross-party nature,


which has extended right through the committee to all members,


particularly to the... I thought the minister had gone for a minute! Ear


still loss. The Minister has engaged with all members of the committee.


-- he is still there. He has worked inside and outside of the committee,


he and his officials, and that is really appreciated, even today


suggesting ways in which the selected committee can be involved


in the code of guidance, that is really constructive and helpful, and


I think Jozabed ignition for how the whole of the house can make a


contribution. -- and I think shows a recognition. Nevertheless, it has


been a constructive and positive role. My honourable friends, for


Westminster North, and for Dulwich and West Norwood as well, they have


played a role. I want to say little about the select committee, and it


is good that as well as the honourable member for Harrow East,


and my honourable friend the member for Dulwich and West Norwood, the


honourable member for Northampton South has seen this process right


the way through, and I think I am right in saying that he was the


honourable member who first suggested in select committee that


we might look at homelessness as a subject when we began our report.


Thinking back to that, it is around a year ago that we started taking


evidence as a select committee. Indeed having got the report here, I


carry it around with me at all times, of course! We had our first


hearing on Monday 14th of March, and I think it is appropriate that on


that occasion, some of our first witnesses were from Crisis, St


Mungo's's and Shelter, and they certainly have been an important


part of this whole process, along with other organisations right the


way through. As I mentioned at second reading, the way in which the


select committee was involved from the beginning, during the report and


the scrutiny, has not only followed precedents but set up residence, and


I hope it will be followed on other occasions as well. -- precedence. We


will continue to follow the bill with a look at the new review that


the Government is doing with the code of practice, the code of


guidance and the two new reviews into how we act is operating. I will


just finished by saying, Madam Deputy Speaker, we also, when we


have the select committee initial report, did look at the wider


issues. There is still the issue of a shortage of homes in this country.


We are doing our inquiry now into the capacity of the house-building


industry, and hopefully as part of that we will be asking ministers


questions about the housing white paper, and we do hope it is going to


be available. I think the permanent secretary said soon when she came to


the select committee two weeks ago. Now, soon has an expandable quality


in government circles, but certainly before the end of March, when


ministers come on that issue. Because building enough homes,


particularly homes that people can afford and afford to rent, it is


absolutely crucial to getting the problem dealt with in the long-term.


I won't go into issues about the sell-off of high-value council


assets, though it was interesting but permanent secretary did mention


the word if in relation to that when Ji came to talk to us. Of course,


ministers couldn't possibly comment but let's hope there is some


substance to the word ever on this occasion. When we looked through our


report, Madam Deputy Speaker, we did draw attention to the impact of


welfare reform on a cross-party basis. I will just say that we want


cooperation in terms of dealing with homelessness. We want authorities to


deal with us in tackling homelessness, but it is important


that government departments get their act together and understand


that policies by one department can affect the operation of policy in


another. In particular, we drew attention to welfare reform, but


also the issue of the withdrawal of housing benefit to 18-21 -year-olds,


and how that can affect people, and we have made suggestions about how


people lose a job should not be forced out of their home when they


look for another one. We drew attention to the problems of


universal credit and the difficulties it can raise, and


indeed already is racing in parts of the country, driving up rent


arrears. It is a serious potential problem, and we hope ministers will


have a look at it to sea of payments direct to landlords, on occasions


where tenants are satisfied with it, can try and solve those problems


from occurring. One of the major causes as the loss of private rental


tenancies. So, Madam Deputy Speaker, with just those caveats of issues


that we need to look at further, I very much welcome and support this


legislation, really pleased we have got to this stage, and once again


many thanks to the honourable member for Harrow East for selecting this


subject, and for operating anywhere he has, consensually and


collectively, to get the bill to this stage. David Burrowes. Thank


you, Madam Deputy Speaker, a great pleasure to be able to follow a


whole litany of speech is quite rightly paying for some tribute to


my friend, and I am glad that it is a cross-party effort, collaborative


across sectors within the sectors that my honourable friend has had to


navigate and deal with over the weeks and paid tribute to him. And


all those who have been involved in this. But I am also proud that a


Conservative Member of Parliament has led the way on this, and forgive


me for paying bills, particular tribute to that. I was pleased to


encourage my honourable friend down this path when he was picking the


bill, one of the most popular Members of Parliament around,


included in the Government, it has to be said, everyone wanted to


encourage a more easy route, the hand-outs that would have had less


effort and less concern, but frankly it wouldn't have got two... I can


say that! It wouldn't have got to what is a burning injustice, which


is across, as our minister has spoken right -- as our Prime


Minister has quite rightly spoken about, a burning issue. It is also


one of the last occasions he will be a whip on this bill! Who knows? Who


knows? We live in interesting, surprising times.


LAUGHTER But what is not a surprise, Madam


Deputy Speaker, is the long track record not least of Conservatives


tackling homelessness, and I want to speak of my predecessor in Enfield,


we had boundary changes then, and perhaps to come, but my predecessor,


Ian McClure out, 50 years ago, he helped found the homelessness


charity Crisis, to whom we paid GB and in this -- we page but in


supporting this bill. -- we pay tribute in supporting this bill. We


also paid GB to other charities working in the sector,. -- pay


tribute. It is right and fitting that we now have, 40 years on from


the last substantive homelessness legislation, an important and


significant bill. Across the house we can say it is a good bill that


will make prevention Jeremy core duty on all councils.


It will mean that we will be a to look at the actors of tripe that


homelessness. So my counsel, Enfield, will not have to wait for


an eviction notice. My constituent, who was fleeing domestic balance to


move to automotive products that accommodation, that would be known


to her attacker. That will not have to put up with a response she got,


when the housing officer said "What do you expect us to do?" This Bill


clearly says to her and others like her that there is a clear duty of


prevention for these vulnerable people. The help, and this is a more


challenging ask, the challenging cases of an elderly 72-year-old in


my constituency who is on -- in unsafe, unsuitable accommodation.


There is cold are going through big gaps in the windows, and very little


furniture. There is an office chair that is there, and he and his wife


have serious health needs. They have been placed in this unsuitable


accommodation. He spoke recently to my office manager and said, look, as


far as I am concerned my life is not worth living, because I have been


sent to what he describes as a hellhole. Whilst there is a lot more


that needs to be done in this Bill, I hope it will impose that duty on


the issue of inspections, but also in ensuring that in the private


sector world, this will not happen again for that 72-year-old and those


like them. The Bill will not however do everything to end homelessness,


but are structural issues, for another day and another time, the


dealing with welfare reform, dealing with matching housing costs and


benefits, which will need to be debated and considered. As well as


the forthcoming White Paper. And I look forward to this being part of


supporting a cross Government homelessness strategy. But in


London, we have to work on the book by that deal for an affordable --


affordable housing, and -- we have spoken about reviews and assessment,


I see the litmus test of this Bill, that those constituents are coming


back into the system, I see it as ensuring that it is breaking that


cycle of crisis management, to mean it is about early prevention, to


help these complexes and individuals into sustainable housing. In


conclusion, Iain Macleod in 1967 spoke at a candlelight vigil in Hyde


Park to raise awareness of homelessness. The words which sadly


resonate today, 50 years on. He said, and we can say this today I


think as a result of this Bill, "This is an appeal to help those who


no longer have any dignity and self-respect. What we do expect is


that you will acknowledge that they are fellow human beings, and they


have nothing left to look forward to. We call upon the talents, ideas


and enthusiasm of people from all different prejudices and belief, in


a constructive attempt to track all this problem. " This Bill has, I


believe, followed and fulfilled that spirit of constructive attempt,


which won only I believed to a continued and sustained


collaboration, if we are in debt to finish the race which we have begun


today, on a cross-party, cross Government and indeed across housing


sector interest, which is to indeed end homelessness. There is indeed a


cross-party consensus in support of this Bill, as we showed in second


reading and through the committee stage of the Bill and they do today.


It is a step in the right direction, it will hopefully lead to a


significant cultural shift in the way the homelessness is treated,


particularly but not exclusively for single homeless people and those who


have traditionally been non-priority need. It is a good thing that we


place on the face of legislation the duties that this Bill provides for


in respect of the include dust bag the duty to assess and corporate and


the duties of prevention, and I warmly congratulate the honourable


member for bringing forward the Bill, and leading it during this


recent months. And with the support of Crisis and the expert panel


members who helped put the bowl together. So we want this to


proceed, proceed fast, and to help bring about a transformation. And


although in many cases local authorities and no barrier to


carrying out the kind of duties that this will place in legislation, we


know particularly the fannish -- I have been a financial pressures


recently, local authorities have taken the law very literally, have


tested the law, and challenged the law to its outer limits. And beyond


in some cases. And it will be at the end is a framework that makes for


some of the practices to contain to operate. But it is also true, as we


have said on the side and a deep on some of the honourable members


opposite, that the Bill does not exist in isolation. We have already


referred to the fact that the existing non-statutory duties in


terms of the relief of homelessness, which assist round about 100,000


households every year, have still not been able to check the


remorseless popular trend in homelessness both in terms of those


in priority need and non-priority need and not sleeping, over recent


years. And why is that? Well, it is because the pressure particularly of


resources in so many errors, by no means exclusively local government,


has been a crap Kerrie Ballard to any attempts to bring down


homelessness. And just on the of rough sleeping -- we know it has


that from 16% in this year. Westminster this year, on the front


line, but new information I have obtained from the health service,


only last week, showed us that not only is there a rough -- rise in


rough sleeping, but terrifyingly there has been an escalation in the


number of rough sleepers for home mental health problems are the main


driver. And that, since 2010, the number of rough sleepers with mental


health problems has gone up by 80%. -- serious mental health problems.


That reflects something else that's going on across the public services,


particularly what is the NHS and the health service more widely. We have


heard tell about... I am grateful to my honourable friend, and I agree


with her in supporting the Bill. Last Sunday was homelessness Sunday,


I was in her borough and the attention was drawn to the very


large number of church based night shelters operating all over the


country, trying to meet this rapidly growing need, and will she join me


in commending those organisations for their efforts? Absolutely, there


is stunningly good work being done by churches and other faith


communities, and indeed at Christmas I went to the crisis centre at the


city of Westminster college and so volunteers, some of which have been


going back to Crisis for 20 years, to work on supporting that -- people


over that bloody period. So we should absolutely congratulate those


people back over that holiday period. And that there are those


very fundamental problems, but are pushing us in the open -- opposite


direction to that which the Bill would take us. The House of Commons


library briefing confirmed that this year alone ?2.7 billion less will be


spent on housing support than what would have been the case on trends


from 2010, and ?5 billion has been taken out altogether since 2010. I


think that puts the ?40 million contribution to this Bill into


rather alarming context. And of course universal credit, the delayed


payment and direct payments, are driving more and more tenants into


arrears, and that in turn is another factor in making it less packed up


and what, the opposition that so many homeless people are prepared to


let. That is a problem I see no signs of reducing, and in fact is


very likely to be going in the opposite direction. So although the


Member for Harrow East did say that we should be looked at the Bill


today on its merits, and I could do that today, we can offer what is


going on. In the last couple of minutes to bring pump the member


Mike that this is fundamentally be about people it is about the people


at the sharp end, and just in the last few weeks I have dealt with


many cases of people, other homeless or at risk of homelessness, this


week a young mother of two macro children, 20 years resident in my


constituency, whose own parents, the children's grandparents live in the


constituency, arsenic, who was made homeless from the private rented


sector, had to wait until the bailiffs that in order to be


rehoused, and has now been rehoused in north London, over one hour away


from her support network, sharing a single room with her two macro


children. -- two children. But even more acutely, a case that came to me


just before Christmas, which I think goes to the heart of the challenge


single new lines from the letter came in danger man up he was kicked


out from that I will share with the House, which are very up and put up


a list. "I Was forced to live in a friend's car through the winter of


2016. One that I was sleeping in the car when it was broken into. The


people have been knife to my neck and took everything I owned. -- held


a knife. At that park bench on a park bench until a stranger told me


about a hostel. I was given a place, but it was three days later.


Meanwhile I had to go back to sleeping in the park." Unfortunately


at the hostel he was submitted -- subject to attack and robbery, and


when he came to me he had been sleeping rough on the whole of last


year. His letter finished, "I don't want to be robbed or killed. 2016


has been the worst year of my life. I've wanted to kill myself every


day. I know if I don't get help, I will be the next to be killed. "


That 18 years old, were discovered by the experts for the rest of the


stuff, as we are of the cabin and somewhere to live. If that Bill can


do anything for that 19-year-old boy, I'm happy to support it. But


the leg while other year-old more microphone Harrow East, it does not


exist in the context of support, of financial backing, of an attempt to


deal with the drivers of homelessness, whether it be housing


supply, the failures of universal credit the welfare reform, because


if it does not, welcome as these provisions will be, we will


unfortunately find ourselves back again in another two years, facing


yet more increases in homelessness, and yet more individual lives


scarred by this terrible scourge of modern life. It is a pleasure to


follow the honourable lady for Westminster North, who has always


been very diligent in pursuing housing as an issue in her


constituency. And of course I am delighted to thank my honourable


friend for his wonderful work, and his office, and of course the


honourable gentleman for Enfield Southgate, the de facto Whip, of the


Bill. Now, today my honourable friend is a bit of a softy. I know,


having known him for 20 years, as a political bruiser, have must have


been to inordinately praised the honourable gentleman for


Hammersmith. But I think in the spirit that it was given I echo that


point. Because actually, we are all here to help needy and vulnerable


people who we have the great honour and privilege to represent in this


House. I think... I was very concerned that it appeared that Her


Majesty's opposition intended on effectively potentially wrecking the


Bill a few days ago, and I am glad that they refrain from pushing the


amendments to the vote, not necessarily big intended so to do,


but when it reached the Lords, peers in the other place may have


complicated the issue and endangered the viability of the Bill in. But I


think the opposition for that. And honourable friends on this site. --


on this side. When we look back at local


government reform and the housing boom of the 1950s, this again is


very much within that type of commitment to the elevation of


people to make the world a better place. I think I am quite unusual in


that I am a Conservative Member of Parliament who is very keen on


house-building, and who believes that we have to, at source, tackle


housing by building more homes. That isn't always the case, and I don't


decry the motives of my honourable friend and others in the House for


wanting to protect the residential amenity and quality of life in their


areas, but in order, long-term, to solve the housing crisis, you need


to build more homes, and I think we all accept that is the case, and


that is why I was a lonely voice, I think, a month or so ago, arguing


against some of the more restrictive amendments in the neighbourhood


planning bill, and I was arguing against not building more homes we


look forward to the housing white paper coming out, and it is as well


to also thank the Minister for the excellent work that he has done with


his ministerial colleagues. And particularly to thank the department


for the allocation of funds to Peterborough City Council as part of


the ?48 million homelessness reduction programme. We have seen an


uptick in people presenting as homeless and living on the streets,


rough sleepers, in Peterborough. Now, clearly, there has been some


issue around the impact of welfare reform, there has been an issue, we


have a very large proportion of peripatetic foreign workers from


Eastern Europe, who may lose their job very suddenly and therefore are


not in a position to pay their rent. But clearly, as the honourable


gentleman for Hammersmith made clear, the precipitous termination


of housing agreements under section 21 of the housing act is having an


impact. And therefore I think this bill is extremely timely. I think


the good thing about the bill is that, and I might also say that I


supported the bill at second reading very strongly and was there working


with other charities in my own constituency. And may I just make a


plug for the fantastic work of the congregation of my own church, the


parochial church council on Park Road, who have participated with


other judges in Peterborough to have a night shelter for some of the most


vulnerable people in Peterborough, who wouldn't have a bed on a very


cold night, and they have been treated with the warmth and


humankind nurse and dignity that one would expect of good Christian


people. -- human kindness. So thank you to Father Greg Roberts and the


others for that. Can I just say, this is the beginning of a journey,


this will not end homelessness, it will not end the rough sleeping. But


we are on a journey, and I think the good thing about the bill is that it


is a proactive effort, particularly around early intervention and


advice. Because we really have to concede that it is not just about


dry, arcane legislation - it is about human beings only the problems


they are suffering, which means that they have to take difficult


decisions. And therefore I would urge the Minister to think in a more


holistic way around and substance misuse and mental health issues, as


it impacts on people who are homeless. And please, if it's


possible to give more support in the course of secondary legislation of


this act, hopefully, to assist local authorities - I think that would be


very important indeed. Another important issue to raise is that,


for authorities such as Peterborough, which participated in


large-scale stock transfers some years ago, there just isn't the


capacity to think ahead in terms of local trends for homelessness. And


therefore they need some expertise and help, and that obviously does


cost money. But it shouldn't be the case that the first time anyone can


receive help is when the bailiffs are knocking on their door. I


welcome, in particular, the help to secure parts of the bill and, of


course, the individualised plan, because we are talking about


individuals, each of whom is a different set of circumstances which


has brought them to make the decisions that they have made. And


life sometimes happens to you while you are making other plans, to quote


John Lennon many years ago! The fact is that is that advice, that


proactive, forward-looking advice, will actually be good for the


taxpayer, but more importantly good for those individuals, particularly


individuals with families. So that is very, very important. Selective


licensing, my honourable friend the member for Mid Derbyshire, who was


no longer in her place, did make the important point about vulnerable


women who are affected by homelessness. Bonneval women are


also affected by very poor quality housing. -- vulnerable women. And I


am quite honest in saying that I am willing to look at the trade-off of


ending slum landlords by reducing some of the provision, because I


don't want my constituents living in slums at the whim of rapacious


landlords who are milking the taxpayer. And that might mean some


turbulence in the market, but the duty does not end once we have


housed that person. The duty ends when we are convinced that that


person, or that family, is in decent accommodation. A number of years


ago, Cambridgeshire Constabulary looked at crime committed in new


migrant households against women, sexual crime, theft and other


crimes. So we have a much more general duty, and should do, to


people who are in private accommodation. May I just say very


briefly a little bit about the saga of Saint Michael's gate? My


honourable friend will know I had a Westminster Hall debate, this was


the ludicrous situation, the Alice in Wonderland situation where my


local authority was forced to take people who were statutory homeless,


who had been housed in a travel lodge, into a development called St


Michael's Gate, where the landlord, whose dubious and morally


reprehensible business model I mentioned earlier in the House,


meant that they served a section 21 notice on 74 of those households and


made a number of them homeless, so they were recycling homelessness.


The reason? Because it was more lucrative for them to cream off the


administrative fee for overnight homelessness accommodation, and of


course those people who were chucked out were statutory homeless. It is a


ludicrous situation, and I have asked the Local Government


Association to look at that in detail to make sure it can never


happen again or is very unlikely. And that brings me to the key issue


of the trend of many local authorities to begin to discharge


their homelessness obligations under the 1986 Act by shovelling the most


vulnerable people around the country, different authorities keen


to push people to other local housing authorities. And I think


that there should be at the least a proposal or concordat in place to


make sure it stops, because it is not fair on those people and is


older madly not fair on the taxpayers. -- and is ultimately not


fair on the taxpayers. So, Madam Deputy Speaker, I warmly welcome


this bill. It is a culmination of an anomalous amount of effort and hard


work, and I welcome the duty to provide advisory services, which was


sorely needed. -- an enormous amount of effort. To day, I think we have


seen the best tradition of the House of Commons, people of good faith


coming together in the service of our constituents, sticking up for


people who do want a better life, decent people, who will have a human


rights to a roof over their head. It is our job to look after their


interests, and they are the people we serve, and I warmly endorsed this


bill, and I hope that it soon becomes an act, receives Royal


assent, and begins to make a difference to the lives of so many


very needy people. Helen Hayes. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I


rise to welcome this bill, and I want to add my tribute to the


honourable member for Harrow East for taking on this subject for his


private member's bill, and for the diligence and the commitment that he


has shown to seeing this bill through. I also welcome the process


of the bill. I have been pleased to have been involved, closely involved


from the beginning through the select committee, as a member of the


selectivity, through the inquiry, and then to the bill committee stage


of this legislation as well, and I think it is an excellent example of


evidence based legislation. We saw, on the select committee, undeniably


evidence that the problem of homelessness is increasing, that it


is increasing at an exponential rate, and that the current system is


not working, and this bill will play an important role in setting some of


that right. This bill is a principled reform which will set the


basis on which homeless people receive support in the right


footing. It is right, Madam Deputy Speaker, that local authorities


should have responsibility and indeed a statutory duty to intervene


earlier when residents are threatened with homelessness, to


provide help and support and, wherever possible, to prevent people


from ever becoming homeless in the first place. This is the


compassionate thing to do, it is what a decent society demands. But


it is also the cost-effective thing to do, because when somebody becomes


homeless, the costs to them, the personal costs, and also the cost to


the public sector in many different ways simply rise to a level that we


cannot afford, and that is money not well spent, it is money spent


propping up and dealing with a situation that really never should


have arisen in the first place. It is also writes that more people than


are currently eligible to receive help and support our able to receive


help and support, and this legislation will help with that


also. Wall of us will have examples from our constituencies of people,


usually single people, for whom common decency demands that they


receive support, but who are not eligible under the current system to


receive support, and this bill will help to address that problem. It is


also absolutely the case that the culture of work around support for


homeless people changes as well as the practice. We saw evidence on the


select committee of significant levels of gatekeeping by local


authorities, and people being treated in ways which simply are not


acceptable, made to feel that they are somehow to blame for their


predicament, or that they are a problem, or just a statistic.


Witnesses described the human effects of being in our current


system. -- dehumanising. It is right that the legislation is seeking to


change that. I support the bill on its own terms, and I believe it will


make a significant difference to the nature of support that homeless


people receive. But, Madam Deputy Speaker, we cannot for one minute


kid ourselves that by supporting a piece of legislation that has


homelessness reduction in the title, we are solving the problem of the


housing crisis in this country, and I cannot speak about this bill


without, in the same breath, speaking about the wider context of


the housing crisis just for a moment. This government's record on


housing is shameful. Under Labour, rough sleeping fell by 75% in 11


years. Under this government and the coal issue in government, it's


doubled in just five years. -- the coalition government. It has gone up


in a further 30% in just the last year. The number is people in


temporary accommodation are rising, and my experience from my


constituency is that homelessness is also becoming more intractable for


those who find themselves in that predicament. Individuals and


households in temporary accommodation for longer, and it is


much harder to secure the secure, affordable accommodation that they


need. That is an issue about supply of new homes, and the supply, most


importantly, of secure, high quality, genuinely affordable homes.


It is about the insecurity people face in the private rented sector.


If someone takes the decision to become a landlord, their primary and


essential responsibility must be to their tenant under the terms of


tenancy agreements, but we have too many people living in the private


rented sector with tenancies that are not fit for purpose. That is a


problem. Reform of the private rented sector would make a very


rapid difference while we are waiting for new homes to be built


for people facing homeless and our hard-pressed councils would see


fewer people presenting to their homelessness departments for help


and support if more people had security in the private rented


sector. It is also about the LJA cap and the bedroom tax, the forced sale


of council homes and many aspects of Government policy that is not


working to deliver the secure, affordable homes we need to solve


the problem of homelessness. The second issue I wanted to flag


concerns the funding for this bill. I welcome the assurances the


minister has given to review the funding for this bill and the way in


which it is working. There are many unknowns about the new burdens that


the bill will produce and there is an expectation that a greater focus


on prevention will save councils money. There is a lack of clarify in


the Government's working about what councils will be expected to use the


funding for whether it relates to additional staffing costs or the


provision of additional support for people to bridge a gap, a difficulty


in paying their existing rent for a period of time. So there is doubt


about whether the funding will be enough. I'm particularly concerned


on behalf of the councils they represent where the problems and the


pressures op those councils are very severe. 5,000 children in Lambeth,


more than 1,500 households will spend tonight in temporary


accommodation. While the bill will help Lambeth and Southwark councils


to provide more support, we have a system which is completely clogged


up to the point of being at a stand-still and the councils must be


provided with resources to implement the new duty in a way that enables


them to be effective. I know that is what all of us want to see. Finally,


I hope the Government will use this process of developing legislation


and a Private Members Bill through the select committee process on the


basis of evidence, as a precedent for its approach to housing in the


future. Looking at the evidence of where the current situation is


system my not working and taking decisive actions on the wider


contributors to our housing crisis. I end by offering my congratulations


to the member for harrow and my thanks to the crisis and the other


homelessness charities who have supported this bill and provided


their inputs to it and my thanks to the minister for his support for


this bill and for seeing it through. Finally, to my front bench


colleagues and my colleague in particular, the chair of the select


committee for the excellent contributions they have made to


scrutinising and pressing the government on this most important


issue. Thank you, what a pleasure it is to follow so many passionate


speeches, not least that of the lady who has just spoken so well and with


such knowledge on this. I must also join in the tributes to the enormous


success of the member for Harrow East, I was part of the Government


machine which used to produce legislation and I'm in awe of how


the honourable gentleman has managed to do this effectively alone, though


with the team that he outlined earlier. I'm very pleased this bill


has Government support and I'm pleased about the funding, which has


been promised. Though I hope the minister was listening carefully to


my honourable friend when he mentioned more funding maybe


necessary in the future. But on that note I would like to thank the DTLG


for the money which has been give on the Oxfordshire in the Government's


homelessness prevention programme. 790,000 pounds to fund trialing new


initiatives on homelessness. We have heard about the importance of cross


party working, and I would like to put in a plug for some cross party


work which has led to good practice in the reduction of homelessness.


Our district council and charities have been working very closely


together to reduce the number of rough sleepers in our areas. They


have done that by reducing that number by 20% in the last year,


which shows how well that a more holistic approach can work of the


type that is set out in this bill. We have seen some great initiatives


in the last year, we have, they have produced a homeless pocket guide. It


might not sound like much, but to have all the numbers that you need


with short and long-term solutions for your problem with homelessness


in one place is useful to people whose lives are chaotic and are


moving from place to place. We have some great local charities. The


Beacon centre in Banbury which offers friendly but quite firm


advice. I have seen them do it to some rough sleepers. One of my


favourite buildings is that that houses the Banbury young


homelessness project, where there is a real forward-thinking holistic


approach to preventing the causes of homelessness. They provide


counselling. They provide family groups for counselling and there is


a brilliant job club. In 2012 they won the Queen's Award for voluntary


service. I love going there, it is very much like being at home with


one's own teenagers! The sort of support that is provided which I


know you will understand and empathise with it almost that of a


parent for a group of teens who are uncertain which way to go and need


some help and encouragement to get through job interviews and who may


not get that sort of support in their families and homes in the way


that we hope that our children do. I would also like to mention the


Salvation Army u who have been turning lives around, particularly


like the rough sleepers, for many years. They were helpful to members


of my own family who came home from the First World War and I'm


impressed by the work they continue to do. It is clear that people who


are rough sleeping have different needs. And families at risk of


eviction differ from those with drug and alcohol dependencies who have


been rough sleeping, but working together charities and councils


recognise that. I accept not all are working together so well and we do


need the safety net in the legislation. It seems right to me


there should not be a double standard of priority need. Anyone


who doesn't have a bed for the night is a priority. We have heard a lot


this week about difficulties in our Prison Service and I think it is


right we draw attention to link between homelessness and those who


have been imprisoned. 15% of those going into prison for the first time


are homeless before they go into prison. When they're released, 80%


of those previously homeless prisoners reoffend in the first year


after release. This compares badly withen under half of mean who were


not homeless at the time they went to prison. As we try to reduce


re-offending, dealing with homelessness will help. So I would


like to add my support to this well-balanced bill. It will produce


support for those who are homeless while not putting undue pressure on


councils. I hope by working together claimants and consills will help to


reduce the problem of homelessness. Thank you. I was pleased to serve on


this bill committee and to be part of a bill that will make a big


difference to many vulnerable people. There are two clauses I


welcome, the extension to 56 days and the final advisor and


assessment. I hope which won't have constituents who are waiting for the


by bailiffs to arrive as the only way to declare themselves


homelessness. I hope under the new system temporary accommodation could


become unnecessary in the majority of cases. Removing a long fight to


regain possession will encourage private landlords to take on benefit


claimants. The measures will ease the need for temporary


accommodation. Private landlords will take on more tenants and those


given notice can find a new tenancy. I hope landlords will look on this


as an opportunity and it will pass as smoothly through the other place


and come back with few changes. Can I thank the minister and the civil


servants and the charities for providing excelle briefings and


particularly for the member for Harrow east for his many hours of


work putting this Private Members Bill through. Thank you. It is a


great pleasure to follow the member for Portsmouth South. I too pay


tribute to my honourable friend the member for Harrow East. He will be


blushing all afternoon I'm sure. But it is right that we do pay fulsome


tribute to him and I believe the honourable gentleman maybe right


this may with the model of how to get through difficult legislation


through a private members bill and all price is worthy and due. The


honourable gentleman invited me to exercise iron discipline today. He


in fact invited me not to speak any further at all during the course of


today. That would have been a step too far! But I am going to exercise


discipline, not least because you would have noted that my bills


appear at Nos 3 and 4 on the list. And you will be interested to hear


that speech No 4 in particular refers to cricket in some detail.


And it would be a shame were we not to get to bills three and four.


Pages four and five were beautiful prose on cricket and the House will


be disappointed if we don't get to those bills. I want to sound one


note of caution. I was disappointed by the speech by the member for


Leigh, who is not in his place. It sounded more like a campaign speech,


rather than points constructive in relation to new clauses one, two and


three. It may be that because he wasn't her during second reading and


didn't sit on the committee that he was misplaced and misunderstood and


he was wrong when he said there was a cosy consensus. That is wrong.


There was cross party support for that bill. But during the course of


bill committee there was robust debate and exchanges on both sides


to ensure that this bill got through. And if there was consensus,


there was consensus around this one fact which I believe everyone


committee chaired and it was mentioned by the honourable


gentleman for Hammersmith, one person sleeping rough is one person


too many. If there is a cosy consensus around that, so be it and


I stand guilty as charged. But apart from that one sour note, it has been


a pleasure to serve on this bill committee. It is my first Private


Members Bill committee and if they're all like this, then it will


be a pleasure. But there is more work, we cannot pat ourselves on the


back, there is more work to be done in Parliament when it goes through


the Lord's stage and I agree with what the the honourable lady said,


this is but one step. This is not the complete answer and my


honourable friend made the same point. But it is a big step in the


right direction. Thank you. I'm delighted to support this bill and


to have served on the committee. I commend the work of my honourable


friend the member for Harrow East who has worked tirelessly on this


bill. It is also important to note the level of involvement and input


from local authorities and also national homelessness charities. But


we should also note the dialogue that each of us have had with our


own charities. I have been a long-term supporter of a charity


called Door Way, whose views have been invaluable in giving me an


insight into understanding the impact it would have on the ground.


There has been talk about what this bill does not cover and that is


despite what my honourable friend pointed out, it being one of the


longest everybody Private Members Bills so I do think its important


that we emphasise what it does cover and remember yes there is so much


more to be done, and yes this bill will not do everything that we hope


it can. It won't be a cure all, but the legislation has not been changed


in 40 years. So perhaps this is a monumental step forward.


The key aspect of this bill is about prevention, it does exactly what it


says on the tin, basically, and it is true that some local authorities


are already going above and beyond, but it is not consistent. In fact,


it is patchy up and down this country. This bill would end the


atrocious postcode lottery and ensure that one minimum high


standard would be seen across the country to address and prevent


homelessness. It would give local authorities guidance and create a


level playing field, ending the hit and miss policy that has gone on for


far too long. Madam Deputy Speaker, prevention really is the key.


Perhaps the key element of the bill is the prevention duty for local


authorities to help within 56 days, rather than 28. Prevention will mean


that local authorities have the ability to help whilst there is


still time, that action is taken before complex needs develop any


further, a point that has been raising number of times by local


charities to me. It will save local authorities, NHS and other bodies


money in a long run, it will prevent CCJs, it will free up charities to


have more time to work effectively, but prevention is the right thing to


do above all. My honourable friend for Harrow East said that if one


business keeping rough on the streets, it is one too many and a


national disgrace, and I would like to agree fundamentally with him. I


believe that a key role of MPs is to create opportunities and to help the


vulnerable and the needy in our society, whatever party we are, and


surely this goes right to the heart of that. Madam Deputy Speaker, I


know others want to speak, and I never intended to speak long,


because I have spoken numerous times about this, so I will finish by


reaffirming my support for this bill and its intention to prevent


homelessness. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, it is a pleasure to


support my honourable friend the member for Harrow East in his


private member's bill. He deserves congratulating, and it has been a


pleasure to work with him. It is great to see the bill reached this


milestone in the legislative process today. We have added there and


productive committee stage where we are able to analyse every aspect of


the bill, and I want to thank honourable and right honourable


friends for their contributions. I'm also pleased with the role of the


select committee, so important in giving this proper scrutiny. I would


like to thank the honourable member for Sheffield South East. Throughout


the process, I have always believed that one person who was homeless is


one too many, so every opportunity we have to highlight the problem of


modern society is, in my view, helpful. I know that all of those


taking part in the debate today will be particularly mindful of the human


stories behind the statistics, and I believe it is important to remember


the people who are trying to help them. I would like to put an


gratitude -- put on record my gratitude to a charity in my


constituency. Madam Deputy Speaker, I want to use this opportunity to


express my wholehearted commitment to this bill. I am many other


colleagues have said this will not be the only solution to end


homelessness but is a crucial step. -- I and many other colleagues. I


eagerly anticipate the Government's housing white paper and indeed the


all-party Parliamentary group on ending homelessness will continue to


push these issues. Indeed, we had an informative session on prison levers


just this week. Last night, I had the pleasure to watch a new


documentary created by Shelter, Channel 4 and ITN, focusing on the


plight of hidden homelessness in our country. At the screening, also


attended by the honourable member for Dawda Jallow West Norwood, we


were able to meet a family with the documentary had followed. -- Dulwich


and West Norwood. We were told about the seemingly impossible challenges


they face tried to access help. It reminds us why the bill is so


necessary and why it must progress through this house and into the


other place as people are looking to us to help them in their most


desperate times. The honourable member for Harrow East has thank the


many people who contributed from both sides of the House, I am


grateful to the Minister and officials, colleagues from the


committees, and the charities who have backed this so strongly,


Crisis, Shelter, St Mungo's and many others. Thank you, Madam Deputy


Speaker. I don't want to repeat to many of the comments that have


already been mentioned, but I can't not pass on my thanks also to the


honourable member for Harrow East for the tireless work and drive and


dedication that he has given to this bill, and I very much hope that it


does proceed and becomes an act. I would also like to thank the


Minister and officials in the department, not least for setting


aside the ?48 million that will go alongside to help local authorities


support the Imbula mentation of this bill, and I would like to support


and thank members opposite who have played such a key role also in this


bill, and it has been an absolute pleasure to serve on this committee.


It was the first real bill committee that I served, and to see such


cross-party working, where we actually worked together in a very


consensual and collaborative way, I wish more bills and indeed private


members bills worked on this basis. So many years on, since Cathy Come


Home, there is no doubt in relation to homelessness that we have become


blind, in particular to rough sleeping, but also the homelessness


that we do not see, the homeless people that are sofa serving,


sleeping with a friend, because we do not see them on our streets, and


I am as guilty as anybody else for walking past and those sleeping in


doorways, partly because we are advice by lots of charities not to


give for all sorts of reasons, occasionally I do buy food. There


was an interesting occurrence just a few weeks ago, I was walking to


catch the 91 bus back near Leicester Square, the Covent Garden area, and


a homeless lady approached me. I thought you was going to ask for


money, but she didn't, she asked for a hug, and we had a chat, and she


said thank you for talking to me, thank you for engaging with me like


a human being, thank you for recognising that just because I am


homeless, I am a person. It is important that we do not forget that


we cannot ever lose our humanity, honourable members across the Howson


said today, one person sleeping rough, one person homeless, one


family sofa serving or living in temporary accommodation in one


bedroom is not acceptable. It is not acceptable in any country, it is


certainly not acceptable in the fifth largest economy in the world,


and that is why so proud support this bill, because the record is not


great, as the Minister knows. We have seen an increase in rough


sleeping, an increase in homelessness, but I am proud the


Government is taking action by supporting this bill, which put at


its very hard prevention. Yes, we have to do far more when it comes to


tackling homelessness and rough sleeping that exists on our streets.


But the key must be prevention and making sure that we interact and


engage as early as possible with those that come to us asking for


help, and that is why I am really proud that this bill increases the


number of days to 56, so those coming rightly at the point at which


they know they need help, before they reach crisis, we can intervene,


engage and help. So I am very much supportive of this bill, I hope that


it does progress to the next stage, and I hope all members across this


house will supported fully. Thank you very much, Madam Deputy Speaker.


And I would like to first of all, Madam Deputy Speaker, apologise for


not referring members to my entry in the register of members' interests,


so I would like to put that on record, please. I would also like to


congratulate my honourable friend, the member for Harrow East, because,


having piloted two private members bills through in the previous


session of Parliament, I know the hard work that is involved, and I


really do wish this bill every success when it goes through the


same stages in the other place. I just wanted to put the Cornish


perspective, Madam Deputy Speaker, and how grateful we will be in


Cornwall for the changes that this bill is going to introduce, because


despite falling and employment, by 49% since 2010 in South East


Cornwall, and a strengthening local economy, low incomes remain a


challenge across Cornwall, and conversely, as a result of our


thriving tourist industry, we also find one of the highest proportions


of second homes, which naturally has an impact on the housing


affordability. Only a strong economy which enables incomes to rise will


help everyone to be safe and secure, and for those who deserve support


and care receive it. But unfortunately homelessness remains a


considerable challenge, and in my constituency, and across Cornwall,


and one that is played out in the casework that I see coming across my


desk every day. That is why I am supportive of my honourable friend's


bill to refocus the efforts of English authorities to prevent


homelessness. We have heard of cases where people have had to wait until


they have been given the bailiff letter before they have to leave,


before the local authority will look at the potential of rehousing them.


That is exactly the same in South East Cornwall. And there are


considerable difficulties as well with people finding alternative


accommodation. Quite often, I see constituents who feel they have been


let down by the Liberal Democrat independently led local authority,


and that is why my earlier intervention, when I pointed out


that the leader of the Liberal Democrats was selling this message


that they want to provide more houses, but there is nobody here to


represent that party and support this bill, I think it is really,


really something that I wouldn't be proud of, and I am so glad to see so


many members on this side of the house here today supporting the


bill, to genuinely introduce measures to help homelessness. Madam


Deputy Speaker, I am aware that other people need to speak now, and


I am not going to repeat what other honourable members have already


said. But I would just like to finish with, basically, what Crisis


and said. It brings a much-needed reform to England's 40-year-old


homelessness legislation, and I could not agree more. I really


applaud my honourable friend. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I wish to


make a short contribution, I wish to add my respect and my blessings to


this bill, but first I do refer members to my entry in the register


of members per' interests. My respect goes absolutely to the


member for Harrow East as the member for Hammersmith said, this surely is


a template for MPs and how to get a private member's bill through, and


it is also a template for the tone and the thoroughness and the work


involved in this bill. I pay credit to those of working committees, it


is a pleasure to applaud you now, but I do also agree with other


members who have stated this is but one part of a whole strategy, and in


that spirit I wish to pay tribute to a lot of people in my community. We


do our job, I hope, as MPs, I hope the Lords will play their part, but


local government is a vital part of this. There is a housing officer who


has since retired recently, Brian Castle, I could call him any time


during the day or evening, if I was concerned about somebody in my


constituency who I noticed or a constituent told me was homeless. He


would tell me that day, within hours, what services were being


provided and what help was being given to that person. That is a


great asset for me as an MP. Also, I pay credit to my previous borough


commander, Colin Kennedy. When he invited me to go out with the police


on a Saturday night, Sunday morning shift, I witnessed how amazing the


police are in dealing with some people who may be rough sleeping,


who may not wish to go to A, and I have seen some amazing policemen


cajole them into going to get help, initially against their will, but


getting them to get the services they need. I also picture but, this


doesn't happen often, to the Secretary of State for Health,


because we are now putting mental health on the agenda. -- I also paid


tribute. Having psychiatric services in A departments, in the triage


system, is a vital part of the whole strategy for everyone, and


particularly for people who find themselves rough sleeping or


homeless. I won't have been the only person in the NHS treating somebody


or injury and being heartbroken, seeing them walk out of A knowing


they had no home to go to. I pay tribute to a young schoolgirl


in my constituency who sold cupcakes to raise money for Street Link. As


she said, she mashed it! -- smashed it. The member for Harrow east I


think has smashed his target. Some heroes wear capes, some have spider


webs on their faces, but today I think there is a hero wearing a suit


and a tie, and a little lapel pin saying, back the bill, reduce


homelessness. It is a privilege to be here. Thank you. How can I follow


that tribute to my friend from Harrow East? I have known the


gentleman for quite some time now. I think since before we first came


into the House and I do know he is a very caring man. I also know he is


not just a good friend to myself, but to other colleagues on this side


and the House and on the other side. So I pay tribute to my friend for


getting this through. It is well over due. I would like to pay


tribute to the minister for being patient through this. It has been


quite a marathon. But it is very good to know that 48 million pounds


is going to be put forward for these new duties. And there is sbim macing


there could be more -- sbim macing there could be more and to the


member for Hammersmith, I have not always seen eye to eye with him, but


I have more or less agreed with everything he has said and it has


been a pleasure to see him articulate from 9.30 when he started


to this point. It is good we can even out the playing field for


people who are needy, especially people who were in the armed forces,


people with problems with mental health, and people whose life has


dealt them a bad blow. We don't have to be reminded of the problem of


homelessness, it has been creeping up the years, I know when I leave


tonight there are people sleeping in the underpass. It makes my heart


sink to see that. Although I have had nothing to do with the proceeds


up until this points just to look at everybody who has worked on


everything to get to this point through the committees, because I


think what we have done today, what you have done is historic and


nothing short of miraculous. I'm hoping that this reaches the statute


books as soon as possible. Thank you very much. I draw the House's


attention to my declaration of interests. I want to see how pleased


I am to be here, particularly in front of the member for Harrow East


who put his case with passion, with conviction and with real dedication


and knowledge about this cause. Also to thank Crisis and Shelter for work


behind the scenes and in public advocacy for members to turn up to


speak to this bill. I know the work of Crisis, because my mum spent


Christmas volunteering with them two years ago and had a fantastic time


and would recommend it to all members of the House. The minister


and the shadow minister were right when they said that legislation


alone would not be sufficient to tackle homelessness, we do need


legislation and that is why we are here today to pass the first


significant piece of legislation on homelessness for 40 years.


Legislation that will among other things end the nonsense that I hear


time and time again in my advice surgeries where 40% of cases I see


are about housing. That tenants have to, tenants eviction have to wait


for a bailiffs notice first. As well as legislation, we also need money


from the Government and involvement from third sector organisations. On


money, having convened a homelessness summit with the council


officers and the leader of Kingston council and the lead member for


house and gained knowledge from that meeting, I was able to lobby the


Government for homelessness funding with some authority I think. I'm


pleased that kin so ston is part -- Kingston is part of oo trail blazer


area to receive ?1 million of Government funding to tackle


homelessness. This is great news for Kingston, an area in virtually in


funding formula does not do very well. Dismissed as a a lot offy area


to use the words of Lord Prescott, when he sat where the minister sits


today, and this woefully fails to recognise the fact that the area of


Kingston has pockets of deprivation as bad as anywhere in London and it


has rough sleeping. On the third sector, third seconder organisations


are and have always been vital in the fight against homelessness and


in homelessness prevention. It is notable that many of these


organisations are faith-based organisations, people that as part


of their worship and devotion give service to the most needy in the


community and in Kingston that includes churches action on


homelessness, the YMCA and the churches together that offer their


churches for a night shelter in the winter and the Muslim community. I


want to thank all those organisations for their work in


collaboration with the council to tackle homelessness in Kingston and


I look forward to working with all of them and Kingston's council in


the implementation of the provisions of this bill and to work how best to


spend the funding to end the disgrace of homelessness in Kingston


and in our country as a whole. Thank you. Thank you, may I join members


in thanking and congratulating my honourable friend the member for


Harrow East. I think today we have heard the beginnings of the member's


next leaflet for the general election, namely hero for Harrow


East. I welcome the emphasis in this bill on preventing homelessness,


that is practical and has the benefit of being cost effective and


I welcome the fact that Government has committed ?48 million for


councils to improve services. But I do welcome the fact that that


formula will be flexible enough to ensure the money is directed to


those districts that need it most and I'm conscious in in East Lindsey


we have estimates it is estimated there are seven rough sleepers in


the district. Although that is a tragedy for each one I realise there


are other parts of country where those figures are far higher and I


would rather that the formula is flexible enough. And I ma I end with


-- may I end with the word from crisis that the reduction bill could


transform the help available to homeless people and represent one o'


of the most important developments for homelessness in nearly 40 years.


If that isn't a fantastic sending off for this bill, I don't know what


and so I wish this bill a speedily journey to its natural home on the


statute back. Pun properly intended. Thank you, it is a pleasure to


follow my fellow Home Office private Secretary and I want to pay tribute


to the member for Harrow East who has steered this bill through. I


look forward to it becoming an Act of Parliament. I have been conscious


on previous occasions I didn't want to get in the way and detain the


House and I have chose on the speak at this point, because I do think


that it shows the real value of Private Members Bills, where you can


command support across the House, and you can get things done. It is a


useful vehicle to achieve that. It may well be there are modifications


needed to the system, but when it work, it works very well and this is


an example of where the system shows some value and it is good to see the


House working together, that the people in the country will think


makes a refreshing change. I thought the issue of prevention was an


important one and my honourable friend put it better than I could,


and I think that in our public services we are going to have more


of a focus on prevention in the years ahead to get things right and


relieve the pressures. I think this is bill is considered, logical and


sensible and it is right to clarify the importance of rights and


responsibilities, not just for local authorities and public services, but


for the individual concerned. I think this bill does that very


effectively. I want to say some thank yous in relation to my


constituency, the area councils, the housing department does a terrific


job in making sure that often we do not get to the point where people


find themselves homeless and I would pay tribute to the work they do and


the work they do with me as their local MP to try and get these things


right. I would pay tribute to Crisis and Shelter for their efforts on the


ground and getting the provisions of bill right and working with the


members to achieve that. In closing I want to thank those who in my


constituency do so much work to help those who find themselves in


difficult circumstances and over Christmas Reverend Dennis Binks and


his contribution led a delegation on many cold winter evenings that


helped a number of people and I'm grateful to them and I know local


ministers and ministers would send their thanks and appreciation to


them. There is more to do. I don't think any member would dispute that.


But this bill is significant and it is an important step forward in


eradicating homelessness. I'm very pleased and proud to be speaking at


this third reading in support of the homelessness reduction bill.


Homelessness as we all know, is a chronic issue that successive


governments have grappled with. No one could claim it is easy. But as I


have said, many times before and many colleagues have said, one


person without a home is one too many. It is clearly a duty on


everyone who can help to do what they can. Supporting important


legislation like this is what we can do in this House. We have


scrutinised and improved this Bill. And I know we all hope that it will


complete its passage without incident and deliver the change that


we want to see. But royal assent is only the start and I want to talk


about what the Government will do with the bill you pass to make it a


success on the ground. On the 17th January, I announced funding of ?48


to local Government to meet the new burdens cost associated with the


bill. When aannounced this funding, I was clear it reflected the bill in


the form it was in then. I committed to updating the new burdens


assessment to reflect any changes to to our assessments. The Government


has today brought forward significant amendments that will


further strengthen the bill. I'm sure that members on both sides of


the House are keen to understand the impact of the amendments on the new


burdens costs of the bill. I can confirm that the amendments agreed


today are estimated to increase the cost of the bill by ?13 million over


the course of this spending review period. This increase is a total new


burdens cost of the bill from the ?48 million I had previously


announced. To ?61 million and I'm pleased to confirm that the


Government will meet these costs. It has been said by many members today


or several members today, and I don't know whether it is true, but I


suspect that my honourable friend for Harrow East has achived a record


of having a Private Members Bill with the most significant cost in


terms of spending that has been incurred as a result and in that


sense he can consider himself that he has had a very good outcome from


the bill that he went forward for just a few months ago.


And we all hope that it will complete its passage without


incident and deliver the change we want to see.


That is a key factor in the reason as to why we have been able to get


this bill this far. Just if I may, because I mentioned colleagues


earlier from both sides of the House that have been instrumental in


bringing this bill forward, I would like to mention my member for


Enfield Southgate, who in the absence of a government whip acted


as the whip and the wingman for my honourable friend for Harrow east. I


would like to thank my long suffering, well not my PPS, but one


of our departmental PPSs, the the honourable lady for Taunton Dean for


the effort she has also put into this and the only other person I


have not mentioned that was on the committee is the the honourable lady


for Portsmouth who made an excellent contribution to the debate today.


Finally I want to mention also the Parliamentary assistant for my


honourable friend for Harrow East, Martine Martin, who I won't say she


has kept my honourable friend in check, but she has worked very hard


and diligently to assist my honourable friend in bringing this


legislation forward. I would like to thank my officials who have done a


tremendous job in bringing this bill to where we are and I would like to


thank charities, Crisis, Shelter and the landlords' associations and many


other different councils and people from local government. I look


forward to seeing this bill move on successfully and I'm sure my


honourable friend for Harrow East will remain hot on my heels as the


bill is implemented and I look forward to working with with him on


this important issue. With the will of the House, or the leave of the


House even I rise to say a few thank yous and wish the bill good speed


through the other place. I would like to thank the no less than 20


members who have contributed to the third reading debate this afternoon


as we have looked at the particular aspects of bill. This is a


complicated, complex bill with 13 clauses, 18 pages before we started


the Government amendments today so we are probably on to 21 pages now


in terms of the aspects cover. This bill attempts to ensure anyone


threatened with homelessness receives help and advice and a plan


for how they will secure accommodation. There is aspects of


bill we have put in place encompassing the whole public sector


to put together a position where this will concentrate the efforts to


assist those people that face this terrible crisis in their lives. I


thank members particularly for their appreciation of me! However can I


say to the the honourable lady for Twickenham, it is all national cup


day. Sorry national cake day today, as well as being holocaust memorial


day and the heroes are not me or anyone here, the heros are the


people who go out every day to combat homelessness throughout this


country. Those are the people that deserve the plaudits. I would like


to thank all members, thank the more for his kind remarks and also for


the extra money that he has managed to stump up. Perhaps we should put


his feet to the fire even more, but I will draw a line there. We have


done as much as we can today. But we will be and I think it is fair to


say that the select committee will be watching carefully to make sure


that the implementation of this bill when it becomes an Act of Parliament


that funding is available and local authorities are keeping to their


job. I would like to reiterate my thanks to the officials from the


community and local governments department and I will miss our


briefings on a regular basis. And the texts and e-mails requiring my


assistance at 11 o'clock at night. But hope any we will see the bill


come through to become law and we can can work together on else in the


future. Can I commend and thank the charities in particular Crisis but


also Shelter and St Mungos and the landlords' association and the local


authorities who are after going to be the ones that implement the bill


and very importantly we wish that the plan for enactment of the bill


now rather than waiting for it to become reality. Finally, I do wish


this bill God speed and I hope that the members of the other place will


have observed not only our proceedings today, but our second


reading debate and the hours we have put in on committee, scrutinising


this bill very carefully, so that when they come to consider the bill,


they speed it through so it becomes an act as fast as possible so we can


combat homelessness on our streets straightaway. The question is that


the bill be now read the third time. Many of that opinion say aye. Of the


contrary no. I think the ayes have it. The ayes have it. The ayes have


it. Order. Counter terrorism and security act amendment bill second


reading. Lucy Allen if the honourable lady would like to say


now. Oh, now. Stand up. Thank you. Now. Just say now. Lucy Allen. Thank


you. I would just like to echo some of the comments that have been made


in congratulation to my honourable friend and all colleagues, because


it has been an enjoyable morning. I move the bill be read a second time.


I'm delighted to have the opportunity to speak in support of


my bill. The bill would remove primary schools and nursery from the


scope of statutory prevent duty making teachers report on children


in their care and seek out signs of extremism. Member s who have an


interest will be interested to know there will more opportunities to


debate this next Wednesday. The prevent duty is impoemzed is imposed


upon almost 600,000 public sector workers. It was brought forward


after a proliferation of terror attacks and had the third reading on


the day of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris and it was in the run up to


the general election in 2015, it would have been a brave politician


to oppose this. Now we have had the opportunity to see how this measure


operates in practice and we have had the benefit of hind sight and it is


time to evaluate the benefit of prevent duty and whether it is


working and whether unintended consequences are affecting it. On


the home affairs committee we have spoken to critics and supporters of


prevent and I wonder whether she has spoken to prevent co-ordinators and


police. Thank you. They have done an excellent job and made an excellent


report. I have made prevent co-ordinators and there are exam


Prime examples of good work being done. This is something the


Government needs too take on board and listen to. Given that the the


honourable lady has had a few minutes, I'm sorry that I'm


intervening, but can I ask, does she think the prevent stuff as a whole


is now damaged or does she think there is still hope for prevent in


the future? I believe and in preparation for today, that there


are many in all our communities who are opposed to prevent and for good


reason. I hope to some on to some of the issues that lead them to that


conclusion. The Government has a duty to protect the public and it is


this duty that the Government is prioritising with seriousness and of


course it is right to tackle extremism that leads to violence,


where the issue becomes more delicate is the question of


suppression of political or religious views that the Government


perceives to be too conservative or too extreme and what the Government


sees as helpful and benign can feel to the person experiencing the


intervention as authoritarian and affect the values that we all hold


dear. At the heart of the debate is the sort of society that we want to


live in and to what extent we allow the very real terrorist threat that


we face to interfere with our fundamental freedoms. Since the


intro-Dux there has been increase -- intro-- introduction there has been


concerns. I have taken time to meet with groups. Order. Order. Debate to


be resumed what day? 24th March. 24th March. Road traffic bill. I


move this bill be read now. The second time. The question is that


the bill be now read a second time. As many of that opinion say aye. Of


the contrino. Trary no. The ayes have it. I move the bill be lead a


second time now. The question is the bill be read a second time as many


of that opinion say aye. On the contrary no. The ayes have it.


Defibrillators vablted Bill. Now. Objection. Second reading, what day?


24th February. Barriers Registration Bill, second reading I beg to move


that this bill do be read a second time now. The question is that the


bill be now read a second time. As many of that opinion say aye. Aye.


Of the contrary no. The ayes have it, the ayes have it.


Statutory nuisance aircraft noise bill, second reading. I beg to move


that the bill be moved for to be read the second time now Ob.


Objection taken, second reading what date? 24th March. 24th March. . I


beg to move this House do now adjourn. The question is - that this


House do now adjourn. Thank you, Madame Deputy Speaker, it is indeed


an honour to follow the honourable gentleman who is no longer in his


place for Harrow East in recognising the incredibly hard work he has


undertaken bringing the very, very important and much-needed bill to


this house. Before I begin I would like to declare an interest as the


Chair of the all-party parliamentary group on women's health. I'm thank


of the for the tunted for this timely debate today as this week is


cervical cancer prevention week. The phasing here is important. Cervical


canser is known for not being treatable but preventible under the


right screening kvenlts the events of this week are about trying to


ensure those conditions exist for as many women as possible throughout


the UK. I should like it start by acknowledging the invaluable work of


Joe's Servical Cancer Trust who I believe are unique in the UK in


being dedicated to this issue. I would like it thank them for the


work they are doing to maze awareness this week, such as their


smear-to-smear campaign and there is still plenty of time to take up the


offer, so do, yourself jerks in which women and men are encouraged


to take a selfie with smeared lipstick. .


-- -- so do yourself, in which women and men are encouraged to take a


selfie. I think this is a wonderful event.


And I think we should do it today. Yes, I definitely expect the


minister to partake in such activity. Thank you to Joe's


Cervical Trust for the work they do all year around for the eradication


of this disease. It has been my pleasure to work with them on


women's health on issues surrounding access to cervical screening and I


look forward to do so again in the future. I'm glad the minister is


sitting down, I would like to break with my habit in this House and


begin of a word of praise for current Government policy. Adds


almost all cervical cancers are caused by the HPV vie yu, I welcome


the Government's commitment to the HPV vaccination programme, even


though I think its affects could be intensified with compulsory sex and


education in our schools. This Government has maintained a


successful cervical screening programme which is responsible for


saving an estimated 5,000 lives per year. This is absolutely to be


applauded but not taken for granted. Recent years have seen a drop in the


coverage of cervical screening and this risks the incidences of


cervical cancer increasing with the danger of further unnecessary deaths


when we have been very close to making a breakthrough. We need to be


vigilant both to maintain the progress we have already made and to


make further ground in tackling this disease. Even with the progress we


have made with screening, some 3,000 people a year are diagnosed with


cervical cancer and an astonishing 890 people per year die of it. The


figures for 14-16 show the coverage in England show the it has been the


lowest for 19 years. This is inspite of the so-called Jade Goody effect,


when the TV star's death resulted in 4,900 more women getting screened


ie. ' Sad to say this effect has been reversed and screening is


falling year on year and stands 3% lower than it was in 2011. Screening


coverage rates are also falling across all age groups. I cannot


stress enough now significant and worrying these statistics are. It


means more than one-quarter of women in this country are leaving


themselves open to a cancer that can be prevented but which can easily be


fatal if left undetected. As we know a general rule of cancer means


earlier diagnosis leads to a belter prognosis and cervical cancer is no


different. Later you leave it,er poorer the outcomes.


It is better for everyone if can it can be prevented and treated Ed


Milibandier. Let me address one of the groups with least coverage.


Young wi. Women are invited from the age of 25. New research has found


over one-quarter of women in the 25-29 age bracket are too


embarrassed to attend one. Shockingly the same research


suggests that 70% of young women did not believe that smear test could


reduce a woman's risk to cervical cancer. Let me be clear, it


absolutely K 75% of cervical cancer can be prevented from developing


with regular smear testing, yet over 220,000 of the 25-29-year-olds


invited for a smear test in England in the last year did not attend. The


research sound several other reasons for concern. 24% of young women were


unable to recognise a single symptom with only just over half recognising


that bleeding outside of periods is a symptom, when it is a most common


symptom of cervical cancer. Additionally, fewer than half knew


that a smear test looks for precancers cells and almost


one-quarter thought it was a test for ovarian cancer. This is not a


problem which is unique to the younger generation, whizz the 25-29


age groups has the lowest screening coverage, the 45-49 age group has


seen the fastest decrease in coverage in recent years. Women over


50 display a similar tendency to put off or ignore smear testing with a


third having delays or not attended their smear test, whilst a shocking


one in ten have delayed for over five years. This is particularly


disconcerting because women aged 50, 64 and the most likely to receive an


advanced stage diagnosis with half of those being stage 2 or later. As


I mentioned earlier, this means more invasive treatment and risks poorer


outcomes. By far the biggest risk factor in developing cervical canser


is not attending cervical screening. Coverage of screening continues to


fall at the current rate, if it does, by 2040 indenses will increase


by 16% almost 60 to 64-year-olds and a shocking 85% monk 70-year-olds. If


screening falls by another 5% the mortality rate amongst 60 to


64-year-olds would double. Age is not the only determining fact o of


one's likelihood of screening coverage. One area of particular


concern is that only 78% of black and minority ethnic women knew what


a cervical screening test was, compared to 91% of white women. This


fell to 70% when looking at Asian women alone. Woringly, only 53% of


BAME women thought that screening was a necessary health test. This


needs to be addressed both nationally and within those


communities. The anxieties women were thought to


be ugh around screening, embarrass am. Discomfort taking their clothes


off around a stranger or discomfort with their body are more heightened


among particular cultural communities and social cultural


norms. Additionally some mothers in certain minority households would


intercept screening invitations from the NHS, leading to distress from


younger women, who might have had cultural pressures that they should


maintained their virginity. This is exposing them to significant risk of


the diseasement. Particular focus could be paid to ensuring that


mothers in these communities appreciate the dangers of sevenical


cancer. And know that these cultural norms are not worth risking their


daughter's lives over. It is clear we need to ensure that coverage does


not continue to fau. Indeed we must see that it is raised to an


acceptable level. Currently, the outlook for this is mixed. A new


report released by jop Joe's Trust for this year's cervical cancer


prevention week has found a confused picture of local provision. Whilst


there is some evidence of best practice amongst local authorities


and clinical commissioning groups, it was often found that almost half


of local authorities and almost two-thirds of CCGs in England have


not taken steps to increase cervical screening attendance in the last few


years. The report also finds willing regional disparies. 65% of CCGs in


Yorkshire and the Humber have taken steps to increase screening,


compared to just 18% of CCGs in the West Midlands and the north-east


regions. Similarly, 78% of local authorities


in the north-west have taken action, compared with just 33% in the East


Midlands. And perhaps most shockingly of all, in London, where


courage coverage lags behind the rest of the country with two-third,


20 out of 22 authorities reported no activity at all towards increasing


screening coverage. Madame Deputy Speaker, this has all the appearance


of a postcode lottery. We are risking a situation where some areas


of England see coverage continuing to fall, whilst other areas make


progress. Nobody wants to see circumstances where your likelihood


of developing serve Sol cancer is determined in no small part by the


area in which you live and this Government should play its part to


ensure there is improvement across the board. So what can be done? One


must seek to make access to cervical cancer screening as easy as


possible. Screening takes just five minutes and can save a life. Great


strides have been made in recent years for another simple test - that


of blood pressure to be taken at every available opportunity. This


has been remarkably successful. This is every reason we cop expect to do


similarly for cervical cancer screening. In this I fear the


Government have taken a step in the strong direction in recent years.


Cuts to sexual health funding have led to were vision of cervical


screening through sexual haelted services being significantly


reduced. Joe's trust to stand up screening is available to all women


through sexual health services in less of a third in areas, once again


pointing to a postcode lottery. This seems like a Griff mistake when one


considers amongst the 25-29 age group over one-third of women


expressed the wish it be able to access screening through services


whereas one in five women want over 50 wanted more flexibly timed access


N my own GP practice, it only offers cervical screening, I think it is


every Tuesday morning, so you can imagine n temples accessibility, it


makes it very, very difficult and would actually deter a lot of women


in terms of actually going for that appointment. I hope the Government


will look again at the amount their cuts to Government funding have


affected sexual health services particularly with regard to the


availability of cervical screening. We must move with the times. With


invitation mentions as I mentioned earlier, letters are old-fashioned.


While I appreciate many services use text messages or remirnsd, we should


seek to ensure that rip minders for screening are to the greatest


possible extent accessible in the form of the patient's choice be it


text or e-mail. A digital step seems necessary in the modern word. We


must be cautious about the wording of the reminderings. It has been


brought to my attention the currently the radio tour sent out


for reminders reads "It is your choice whether to have a cervical


screening test or in the and this leaflet aims to help you decide." I


fear to see how this in anyway urges as many women as possible to attend


a cervical cancer screening when we know far too many across all agesp


and et Nisities are content to put it off for a potentially draining


Russ length of time. I would implore the NHS to reconsider the wording of


the leaflets and include in them greater degree of urgency because


the phrase willing undoubtedly have an effect. You will note, Madame


Deputy Speaker, that this afternoon I have perhaps not been my usual


challenging sell of because of the gravity of issue at hand. --


challenging self. Because of the gravity I will happy recognise the


area where the Government is on the right path. The inclusion of a


commitment to increase cervical cancer screening in the #20e 158


cancer strategy is particularly welcome, as is the Government's


commitment to which PV primary screening the implementation of


which could prevent at least 400 cases of cervical cancer per year. I


will finish by asking several questions of the Government:


Where they committed to an increase in the level of tests? For the


Government ensure that we see cervical screening rates are rising


once again? Wormy IT systems for HPV primary screening be up and running


as planned? I will be experienced unnecessary delays that could result


in a avoidable diagnoses? By the minister look at the quality and


outcomes framework and centres for GPs around cervical screening to


make sure that GP practices act incentivise to pursue screening


coverage. How does the Government intend to address the problems with


the accessibility of cervical cancer screening I was particularly high to


reach groups like the AMA women? It is not unthinkable that could see


the effective eradication of cervical cancer if we take the


necessary action. While I applaud the Governmented commitments to


tackling cervical cancer, I very much hope that the minister will


take note of the research from this cervical cancer trust and work with


them to identifying whether there are gaps in provision and take that


action now. Just before I call the minister, can I just say that Jade


Goody lived in my constituency and 20 died, I wrote to her mother that


her. 'S death had not been in vain because it had drawn attention to


the situation and war generations of women of the action that they must


take to protect themselves and give themselves a chance. I am shocked


that the honourable lady has drawn to the attention of the House this


afternoon that that has not been the case. I sincerely hope that her


bringing this to -- debate to the House and the ministers' attention


to the points she has made, and I'm sure he's about to address them,


will reverse that situation. Minister,... Thank you. I given that


intervention. May I also start by thanking the member for her


constructive speech. It was challenging to was the end as she


raised for important points and I shall try and address those. -- fore


important points. At the graduate out on the work she does. Can I just


say, in terms of the trust and the smear for smear campaign, that


during her remarks I was able to check with the PBS and the Whip, and


after the intervention, we would be delighted to do a stealthy with her


in terms of smear for smear which we can use. It is about asking


challenging questions but also about awareness and some of the points


being made were about awareness. Is the beginning to help a charity like


this one we will certainly do. Perhaps after we finish we can do


that. As the member said, there is something like nine women a day


being diagnosed with this cancer and something like two women -- Jew to


the women a day are dying, and it is a cancer that is most entirely


preventable, even though the symptoms are hard to detect as she


talked about that in her remarks. I will cover that. She made the point


in her remarks that the cancer strategy that has been in force as


far covered screening and how we're going to go forward with that, and


indeed talks about the need right across the cancer is having a


consistent approach in terms of survival rates, early diagnosis, 62


day referral treatment time, and the whole cancer experience, one of the


things I always say is that I personally think, and I had been


guilty of this in the past, that we spend too much time concerned about


the health service in terms of its bricks and mortar, and not enough


time thinking about some of the things that matter probably more to


our constituents like survival rates for cancer, and we should be


evaluating and holding our CCG is to account in terms of differential


survival rates. That matters the more people in terms of the impact


on their lives that perhaps some of the reconfiguration is about A


that we talk about, frankly much more often. If we turn to cervical


cancer, and I'm going to talk about the screening programme that the


member made some good points about. She didn't talk about the campaign


that has been waged in some parts about screening under the age of 25,


and I know that that isn't something that the trust wants, but I will


cover that. She mentioned the importance of the enhanced screen


that is coming in and she asked a question about the IT systems to


support that. We are planning that that will be in place. I can confirm


that because there has been questions about that, by April 2019,


that will be rolled out then. That will be in place, and I can give her


that assurance. I'm also going to talk a little bit about the points


you raise about GP awareness and clinical practice, because as she


said, there isn't enough awareness of the symptoms of cervical cancer.


It is hard to detect in terms of symptoms, it tells of abdominal


bleeding and the many causes of that. I'm also going to cover, she


rightly said, that the UK is doing a lot in the area of vaccination. In


terms of progress, that is probably the area that is good to make the


biggest difference in terms of getting rid of this disease, which


as the Speaker said, is quite preventable. In terms of screening,


I shall start by saying the good news, which is that we do it screen,


we have screened the million women a year between the ages of 25 and 49


every three years. After that, to the age of 64, it is five years. The


view is that if that screening where not being done it would be something


like 5000 more deaths a year from this than the 700 to 800 that we


have now. By Tyler make early is that there are very few areas


regarding cancer treatment and performance in which the UK could


see themselves as a world leader. There are very few areas that at...


In terms of screening, the figures that we have from OECD show that we


are number four out of the 30 countries. We do more than countries


like Germany or Austria. She raised the point, and she is right, that


screening rates are going down. They are going down across the world and


we understand -- don't understand why that is but they are going down.


We need to do more to improve that. Something like 25% of women who


should be screened and not being screened. That percentage increases


for women coming for their first screening at the age of 25. The


percentage of people not coming something like 33%. As the member


said, the incidence of that is higher among ethnic minority women


and it is higher among women with learning disabilities and it is a


social correlation to deprivation. Perhaps that is predictable but it


is true. The reasons for that, the member talked about embarrassment, I


think the trust has done work on this, some people say and have no


time to go to their GP or the ask Ed of the procedure for stop the just


thing to do is not important. Of course, we need to do what we can do


to make this better. She raised some very interesting points about the


letter that she read. I am told that they are reviewing that


correspondence and those letters. It strikes me that she made a point in


her speech that we are all on the same side, and I think one way


forward is perhaps if she and the trust would come and speak to me


about some of those suggestions, they are pushing at an open door.


That is something we can do. In the next few weeks. We're trying to make


the information more accessible in particular for those women with


learning difficulties, because there are specific issues about their


health in general, but this in particular. As the member for


Dewsbury said, a lot of what is going on in trying to target those


GP practice areas and understand why they have such high incidences of no


shows and, as we say, it is correlated with ethnic minorities


and there may be some behavioural norms around this for reasons that


were mentioned. At this point I will just say, the Chancellor gave


?650,000 from the tampon tax to the trust, and they have used that money


in this area, trying to understand behaviourally by still a quarter of


million are not coming forward for screening despite a second reminder.


We are increasing awareness of that. But there is more to do and I'm


happy to speak to her and the trust about it. There have been petitions


and discussions about lowering the age limit in respect of screening. I


was pleased that the member of Dewsbury didn't raise this guys this


is being looked at again by the UK screening committee, ideal world


health organisation, and indeed by the trust in question, and it is


agreement that earlier screening would do more harm than good. The


reason for that is that is particularly likely to lead to false


positives, which would create a pressure for biopsies that aren't


necessary, and notwithstanding the tragic case mentioned, the view is


that for those women, testing earlier would not only not be


beneficial, Edward Ashley make things worse. -- it would actually


make things worse. It is particular important for them that they


understand the symptoms are good in their GPS quickly as possible. Just


to emphasise the point, there is no EU country which screens under the


age of 25. I will command and onto -- about vaccination in a moment,


but that is one of the things that will make a difference in that age


group, as well as helping with the no shows in terms of screening


because we are getting much better in terms of uptake in numbers of


vaccinations. The member of Dewsbury talked about the HP virus as being a


significant indicator of risk, and one of the things that is being


introduced on the back of the normal historic screening is screening for


that virus when you first screen occurs, that is -- if that is


present, the patient will be monitored more closely. It is a good


indicator of the probability of cervical cancer developing. From


April 2019 that will be rolled out nationally. We are only forefront of


countries doing that. The IT system, I used to work with ID, she's right


to raise the question, it will be ready in terms of a referral system


and database. She talked about the need for GP outcomes framework,


she's right about that. We have done work, NHS England has done work in


terms of making sure that JP -- GP awareness is as high as it can be,


that women are coming in with... Knowing that it is a serious thing


and a century a gynaecologist. We need to keep working on awareness.


The HP virus, which is the indicator of this cancer, and in fact other


cancers, does lend itself to vaccination. The Government is one


of the first countries in the world to bring in a very high volume of


vaccination to girls of the aged 12 to 13. Last year, 85% of year nine


girls of that age receive this vaccination, which almost entirely


takes away the likelihood of cervical cancer developing. That 85%


is clearly a high and about than the screening number, and it will help


in terms of some of the people in the areas that have been


traditionally hard to get to. It is one of the ways that we will address


that is difficult to get to grips. There has been some discussion as to


whether that screening... Because the HP virus does lead to other


cancers, it should also be given to boys. That is being talked about now


and we are making a decision on that in the next few months. At the


moment, it is only girls. Subtitles resume at 2300


for The Week in Parliament.


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