CLG committee backs private members’ bill to cut homelessness

14 Oct 16

The Communities & Local Government select committee has backed a private members’ bill on reducing homelessness promoted by one its members.

The committee chair, Labour’s Clive Betts, said it was the first time any committee had tried to use this route to put the recommendations of one of its inquiries into effect.

Conservative committee member Bob Blackman tabled the bill following the committee’s August report on homelessness.

Blackman has drawn second place in the annual lottery among MPs for parliamentary time for private members’ bills, which means he stands a good chance of piloting it into law.

The committee said in its pre-legislative scrutiny report that it welcomed the Homelessness Reduction Bill’s focus on prevention and its requirement for a mandatory code of practice for local housing authorities to carry out assessments of all homelessness applications.

It suggested the bill should add domestic violence victims to the list of people for whom local authorities must design advice, and lay a stronger duty on councils to accommodate certain groups within a reasonable distance of their last address, such as those with mental health conditions or whose children attend school.

Betts said: “The committee strongly supports the Homelessness Reduction Bill, which seeks to address many of the issues we found during our earlier inquiry into homelessness.”

He said the committee recognised the bill would impose fresh burdens on local authorities and urged the Department for Communities & Local Government to work with councils to develop a funding model that reflected local demand.

Betts said the committee’s decision to use a private members’ bill to try to turn its recommendations into law was “a model on which other select committees and sponsors of private members’ bills can draw”.

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