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10 Jan 2005 : Column 225W—continued

Highways Maintenance Budget

Tom Brake: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the budget of each London local authority for road and
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pavement maintenance was in each of the last two years; and what the overspend or under spend of each was in each year. [207058]

Mr. Raynsford: The following table shows for all London authority the budget for road and pavement maintenance for 2001–02 and 2002–03, and the amount by which this figure was over or under spent in each year.
BudgetOver/(under) spendBudgetOver/(under) spend
Greater London Authority52,36019,59284,40743,187
City of London7,679(487)6,96527
Hammersmith and Fulham4,734(2,148)2,972(627)
Kensington and Chelsea8,585(462)8,909(14)
Tower Hamlets3,0149843,088906
Barking and Dagenham4,7187574,436937
Kingston upon Thames3,3481,0214,158350
Richmond upon Thames3,4712553,191782
Waltham Forest6,555(1,160)9,713(4,108)

All figures are shown in £000s and the amounts are as reported by the local authority. The budget data are taken from the Revenue Account forms and the outturn data are taken from the Revenue Outturn forms for the respective years.

Homeless People

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many homeless people in Coventry sought help from Coventry city council in the last year for which figures are available; and how many homeless people are accommodated by Coventry city council. [206965]

Keith Hill: Information collected about local authorities' actions under homelessness legislation is in respect of households, rather than persons. The total number of decisions made in respect of applications during 2004, and the number of homeless households in accommodation arranged by Coventry city council at the end of each quarter, is listed in the following table.
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Coventry city council

DecisionsHouseholds in accommodation(5507180046) arranged by local authorities, at end of the quarter
made on homelessness applications(5507180045)

All households
All householdsOf which: those with or expecting dependent children
January-March 2004551165
April-June 20044511711
July-September 200440163

(5507180045) Households applying for assistance in obtaining accommodation where the authority had reason to believe the applicant was homeless, or threatened with homelessness under legislation.
(5507180046) Households in accommodation arranged by Coventry city council under homelessness legislation.
ODPM PIE homelessness returns (quarterly)

In each quarter, bed and breakfast accommodation was predominantly used, with just two households in hostels.

Coventry city council reported six persons who sleep rough—that is, those who are literally roofless—following a single night's street count in March 2004.

After being accepted as homeless, a household will be placed in some form of accommodation. They may be placed in temporary accommodation, until a settled solution becomes available, or they may be given a settled solution straight away depending on the accommodation available to the local authority. As an alternative to temporary accommodation an authority may arrange for a household to remain in their current accommodation (homeless at home), until a settled solution becomes available.

Some of the households in temporary accommodation were being accommodated pending completion of enquiries into their application, or awaiting the outcome of an local authority review/county court appeal against the authority's decision, or had been found intentionally homeless and subsequently were being accommodated for a reasonable period as permitted under legislation. The latest quarterly Statistical Release on statutory homelessness, published by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister on 13 December, presents analyses up to the end of the third quarter of 2004. Information on decisions, and households in temporary accommodation, at local authority level is contained in an associated Supplementary Table. These have been made available in the Library of the House, and via the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website.

Sarah Teather: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what projections were made for (a) the Spending Review technical note to PSA 5, Indicator 3, published on 24 November and (b) Chapter 2 of the Departmental Performance Report published on 2 December on the number of statutorily homeless families with children living in temporary accommodation by 2006; and if he will make a statement. [206231]

Keith Hill: Reducing homelessness is a key part of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's strategy to achieve our PSA5 target, to balance housing markets in all the regions. Indicator 3 focuses on statutorily homeless families with children in temporary accommodation as a measure of acute housing need.
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Trajectories represent the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's assessment of the outcomes we aim to achieve over time through our policies and action to deliver them. They are based on a range of factors, any of which may change over time. We have been working to improve our methodology for projecting changes and the quality of the underlying data.

The Departmental Performance Report covers the period up to November 2004. Projection (b) showed a reduction of 1,400 by 2006 compared with a trend-based projection (ie a projection of what would happen without policy intervention). It assumed that there would be no additional social housing units over those already agreed in SR02 and that the level of homelessness acceptances would level off until 2006–07 before declining due to homelessness prevention measures.

The PSA5 Technical Note relates to the new departmental targets agreed as part of the Spending Review 2004 and will come into effect from 1 April 2005. Projection (a) showed a reduction of 7,400 by 2006 compared with a trend-based projection. It assumed that additional social housing units would be delivered in line with the SR04 settlement and that homelessness prevention measures would start to reduce acceptances straight away.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what measures he (a) has taken and (b) plans to introduce to protect homeless people from assault and wounding. [206585]

Keith Hill: The Government take the issue of violent crime and the impact it has on people's lives very seriously, this includes those who are homeless. That is why we have introduced a number of measures to tackle violent crime, including violence in the streets, and are continuing to do so.

Examples of these measures include:

The Government are also taking action against the use of knives and on 15 December, my right hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield Brightside (Mr. Blunkett) announced measures that included considering legislation to ban the sale of knives to under-18s.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is aware of the vulnerability of homeless people on the streets which is why we have focused our efforts to ensure that the number of those sleeping rough is reduced. Rough sleeping has been reduced by over 70 per cent. since 1998, and these reductions have been sustained. Rough sleeping is now at its lowest recorded level.
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Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) if he will make a statement on the support services offered by his Department to help homeless people find housing; [206586]

(2) whether the Government plans to give extra funding for services to and support for homeless people; [206587]

(3) how his Department provides access to accommodation for homeless people; [206593]

(4) what assessment he has made of the consistency of provision for the homeless across England. [206594]

Yvette Cooper: The Government is committed to tackling homelessness and has successfully tackled the worst manifestations of homelessness—rough sleeping and the long term use of B and B hotels for homeless families with children. We have invested £260 million over three years to 2005–06. This is helping local authorities and voluntary sector agencies to deliver front-line services and take forward initiatives to develop effective preventive measures.

Other investments include £150 million revenue and capital funding to support local authorities implement their homelessness strategies and to take forward a new hostel improvement programme that will help to improve and re-design front-line services to help rough sleepers away from the streets; £1.716 billion for Supporting People for 2005–06, with a further £1.7 billion for 2006–07 and £1.7 billion for 2007–08 and an increase in the supply of new social housing by 50 per cent. by 2008 which together with support for homelessness prevention initiatives will turn around the growth in homelessness by 2008.

The Homelessness and Housing Support Directorate within the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister works closely with local authorities and voluntary sector agencies (including housing associations), providing them with technical and financial support.

In relation to accessing housing, local housing authorities have a statutory obligation to ensure that suitable accommodation is available for applicants who are eligible for assistance, have become homeless through no fault of their own, and who fall within a priority need group (this is the 'main homelessness duty'). The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has strengthened the statutory protection available to people who become homeless through the Homelessness Act 2002 and widened the categories of vulnerable people in priority need, who authorities must help. In addition, under the 1996 Housing Act local authorities are required to give reasonable preference for certain groups of people when framing their allocations policy. This includes people who are homeless.

Applicants who do not have priority need or who have made themselves homeless intentionally must be assisted by the local authority with any efforts they make to secure accommodation for themselves. Applicants can also seek advice from their local housing advice centre or Citizen's Advice Bureau.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister funds the National Homelessness Advice Service (NHAS). NHAS has been supported by Government since it was established in 1990. It is a partnership between Shelter and Citizen's Advice (formerly NACAB) to ensure that
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everyone has access to good quality advice on homelessness and related issues through their local Citizens Advice Bureau—more recently this has also been extended to some independent advice centres.

The Homelessness Act 2002 required every local authority to have a strategy in place by July 2003 to ensure that accommodation and support are available for homeless households and those at risk of homelessness.

In November 2004, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister published an evaluation of 'Local Authorities' Homelessness Strategies'. It was carried out by Housing Quality Network Services (HQNS) between February and July 2004, on behalf of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

The evaluation reports a positive response to the process of producing and adopting these reviews and strategies. The full report and the summary can be obtained via the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website at:

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