§ 17. Mr. Clinton Davis
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will introduce legislation to amend the definition of homelessness in the National Assistance Act, 1948.
§ Mr. Davis
That answer is profoundly unsatisfactory. The present definition of "homelessness" is totally inadequate, and results in a good deal of hardship. Is the hon. Gentleman aware that certain local authorities are not implementing even the present definition? For example, the London Borough of Richmond is refusing to supply Part III accommodation to evicted people, on the ground that their predicament could have been foreseen. Will the hon. Gentleman take action on that?
§ Mr. Dean
If the hon. Gentleman is speaking about the single homeless, it would be premature to redefine the term, because working parties are now considering the Greve Report and the Glastonbury Report. If the hon. Gentleman is speaking about homeless people with children, I can tell him that the working party set up to consider the Greve Report has reported to the Government, who have accepted its report. We now await a report from the London Boroughs Association on the implementation of the working party's recommendations. Therefore it can be seen that we have taken action already in this respect.
§ 18. Mr. Hugh Jenkins
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how the number of homeless families in temporary accommodation in London compares with the numbers in the rest of England and Wales.
§ Mr. Jenkins
In view of the serious problem in London shown by those figures, what action is the hon. Gentleman taking to enable London local authorities to deal with it more effectively, recognising, as I am sure he will, that if the homeless are to be housed, they will be 231 housed by local authorities, not by Shelter or any similar organisation?
§ Mr. Dean
One of the main recommendations of the working party we set up following the Greve Report is that the problem should be the responsibility of the housing authorities. As I said in reply to an earlier Question, the Government have accepted the working party's report. We now await a report from the London Boroughs Association on the implementation of the recommendations.