HC Deb 10 July 2003 vol 408 cc993-4W
Dr. Murrison

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on trends in homelessness among young people(a) in the South West, (b) in Wiltshire and (c) in West Wiltshire. [121330]

Applicants accepted as homeless, and priority need category
South West region UA/DCs in former County of Wiltshire West Wiltshire DC
Total in priority need of which: Vulnerable Young Person Total in priority need of which: Vulnerable Young Person Total in priority need of which: Vulnerable Young Person
2000–01 11,360 550 1,366 47 332 13
2001–02 11,270 640 1,237 46 231 15
August-December 2002 6,520 1380 627 132 104 121
1 16/17-year-olds and ex-Care 18 to 20-year-olds identified from August 2002.


Local authorities only record applicants against the priority need category which was deemed most relevant. Young people may also have been accepted, but not identifiable, within other categories for example "household member pregnant" or "other special reasons".


The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister P1 (E) quarterly housing returns.

In 2002–03 West Wiltshire received £28,000 from the Homelessness Directorate to help them implement the priority needs order. It also received £50,000 in 2003–04 in support of the Government's action to end the use of B&B hotels for homeless families, except in short- term (less than 6 weeks) emergencies by March 2004, and a further £28,000 this year to support it's homelessness prevention services which include debt counselling/mediation and extending the use of rent deposit schemes.

Bob Spink

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what agreements have been reached with Castle Point borough council over the last two years on the reduction of homelessness in the borough; and what(a) targets have been set and (b) funds have been made available. [120930]

Yvette Cooper

In accordance with the Homelessness Act 2002, Castle Point borough council have produced a Homelessness Strategy which addresses the needs of the borough. The Strategy also addresses service and performance improvements that the council will need to implement. I am advised that this Strategy will be put to the full council and is expected to be adopted this summer.

As part of its strategy, the council has entered into an agreement with a local estate agent who procures properties for the council to assist in the accommodation of homeless families. In addition, the council has expanded its housing stock to provide for homeless families: 32 properties are now in use for this purpose. The council proposes to end the use of B&B accommodation for the homeless by the end of 2003–04. I am advised that the council is confident that these measures will result in no homeless families using Bed and Breakfast accommodation, well before March 2004.

Castle Point borough council has been allocated £25,000 in 2003–04 specifically to help it reduce the number of homeless families with children in Bed and Breakfast hotels. This is in addition to £20,000 to deliver the new Homelessness Need Priority Order and £20,000 from the Homelessness Directorate, to assist in delivering an effective homelessness service.

Yvette Cooper

Information reported by local authorities to end March 2002 included the number of applicants accepted as homeless and in priority need by virtue of being 'vulnerable young people'. The priority needs order which came into force in July 2002 extended the categories of homeless groups who have a priority need for housing, and separately identified 16 and 17year-olds, and young people aged 18 to 20 previously "in care". A summary of available information is presented in the table.

The measures and funding detailed above are to assist the authority in meeting the national commitment of ensuring that by March 2004, no homeless family with children is placed in B&B other than in an emergency and even then for no more than six weeks.

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