§ Mr. Swayne
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment his Department has made of the number of ex-service men who are rough sleepers; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Dr. Moonie
The Ministry of Defence does not monitor the number of rough sleepers. However, MOD has been working in partnership with the Rough Sleeper's Unit (RSU) to put in place preventive measures to reduce the ex-service component of rough sleeping, against the target of making an overall reduction in rough sleeping of at least two-thirds by 2002.
The Social Exclusion Unit Report published in December 1999 highlighted that between a quarter and one fifth of rough sleepers had been in the armed forces at some stage, predominantly as national service men. Since then the RSU in partnership with the MOD has set up schemes to help those vulnerable to rough sleeping, before, at the point of and after discharge.
Figures published in August by the RSU showed that as of June 2001 there had been a 62 per cent. reduction.
But we are not complacent. As part of the Government's Veterans' Initiative we are looking at improvements to resettlement arrangements for the vulnerable groups from which rough sleepers are most likely to come.