LGA briefing: Homelessness Reduction Bill

Second Reading, House of Lords, Friday 24 February 2017

Key messages

  • Councils want to end homelessness and are already doing everything they can within existing resources to prevent and tackle it. There is no silver bullet and councils alone cannot tackle rising homelessness.
  • The Homelessness Reduction Bill is in a far more workable state than the original draft following the productive engagement of councils and the LGA by Bob Blackman MP and the Bill's supporters in its development. We want this Bill to pass and do not wish to see its passage obstructed in the House of Lords.
  • Funding of the new duties: We have called for local authorities to be fully funded for delivering all aspects of the Bill into the future. This is crucial to ensuring the legislation achieves its objectives and we were pleased when the Government committed to this at Second Reading in the House of Commons. This led to the announcement of £61 million in additional funding for councils to meet the new duties in the Bill.
  • Reviewing the impact of the legislation: We recognise that these costings will be based on assumptions that are difficult to predict. We therefore welcome that the Government has listened to the calls from the LGA by committing to reviewing the implementation of the legislation, including its resourcing and how it is working in practice.  This will conclude no later than two years after the commencement of the Bill's substantive clauses. This will be vital to ensuring that councils are being fully equipped and funded to deliver the Bill's ambitions.
  • Preparing for the new duties: Once the Bill is enacted councils will need time to prepare for the new duties. This will include recruiting and training new staff, implementing new procedures and IT systems and capturing the necessary data. We welcome the confirmation from the Minister that local government will be given  time to prepare and that councils will be consulted as secondary legislation is drawn up and codes of guidance updated. Implementation of the Bill should be delayed until a point at which both local and central government are sufficiently prepared to deliver its duties. This will allow the legislation's ambitions to prevent and tackle homelessness to succeed.
  • A wider strategy to tackle homelessness: Beyond the direct implications of the Bill, local government continues to press the wider case for sufficient funding, flexibilities and powers from the Government in order to successfully deliver its wider homelessness and housing responsibilities over the coming years. Crucially this will mean building more genuinely affordable homes, and addressing the rising gap between housing costs and household incomes.

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LGA Briefing - Homelessness Reduction Bill, Second Reading, House of Lords, Friday 24 February 2017


Report Stage and Third Reading, House of Commons, 27 January 2017

Key messages

  • Councils want to end homelessness and are already doing everything they can within existing resources to prevent and tackle it, but there is no silver bullet and councils alone cannot tackle rising homelessness.
  • The Homelessness Reduction Bill is in far more workable than the original draft following productive engagement of councils and the LGA by Bob Blackman MP and the Bill's supporters in its development.
  • The need to review the Bill's impact (New Clause 1): We have called for local authorities to be fully funded for delivering all aspects of the Bill into the future. This is crucial to ensuring the legislation achieves its objectives and we were pleased when the Government committed to this at Second Reading. Councils have concerns that the initial costings announced on 17 January will be based on assumptions that are difficult to predict.1 We ask that the Government commit to reviewing the Bill's impact two years after implementation, to assess its actual impact and to ensure that councils are being fully equipped and funded to deliver the Bill's ambitions.2 We support New Clause 1, tabled by Andy Slaughter MP, which would enshrine this review into the legislation.

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Homelessness Reduction Bill Report Stage and Third Reading, House of Commons, 27 January 2017


House of Commons Public Bill Committee, Wednesday 14 December 2016

Key Messages

  • Councils want to end homelessness and are already doing everything they can within existing resources to prevent and tackle it, but there is no silver bullet and councils alone cannot tackle rising homelessness.
  • It is crucial that councils are fully funded for delivering all aspects of the Bill into the future, to ensure the legislation to achieve its objectives.
  • The Homelessness Reduction Bill is in far more workable than the original draft following productive engagement of councils and the LGA by Bob Blackman MP and the Bill's supporters in its development. The LGA supports the intent of many of the amendments proposed by MPs, which seek to ensure the legislation is workable and delivers on our collective ambitions to better prevent and resolve homelessness. In doing so we are not seeking to obstruct the passage of the Bill through Parliament.

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LGA Briefing - Homelessness Reduction Bill, House of Commons Public Bill Committee, Wednesday 14 December 2016


House of Commons Public Bill Committee, Wednesday 7 December 2016

Key messages

  • Councils want to end homelessness and are already doing everything they can within existing resources to prevent and tackle it, but there is no silver bullet and councils alone cannot tackle rising homelessness.
  • It is crucial that councils are fully funded for delivering all aspects of the Bill into the future, to ensure the legislation to achieve its objectives.
  • The Homelessness Reduction Bill is in far more workable than the original draft following productive engagement of councils and the LGA by Bob Blackman MP and the Bill's supporters in its development. The LGA supports the intent of many of the amendments proposed by MPs, which seek to ensure the legislation is workable and delivers on our collective ambitions to better prevent and resolve homelessness. In doing so we are not seeking to obstruct the passage of the Bill through Parliament.
  • We support Amendment 11, tabled by Andy Slaughter MP, and Amendment 2, tabled by Clive Betts MP which relate to Clause 10. These amendments seek to ensure that where a public authority makes a referral to a housing authority in respect of a person who is at risk of homelessness the public authority is under a duty to cooperate with the housing authority. It is important that all public services work in partnership to take action to help prevent or relieve homelessness for households facing varied circumstances.
  • We support the intent behind Amendments 5, 6, 7 and 8 tabled by Andy Slaughter MP. We would welcome assurances that legislation takes into account the points these amendments are seeking to address.
  • We support the intent behind Amendment 12 tabled by Andy Slaughter MP. We have concerns with how Clause 1 would operate in practice. In our view local housing authorities should have maximum flexibilities to engage with landlords and tenants to reach a solution best suited to each circumstance.
  • We support the intent behind New Clause 2 tabled by Andy Slaughter MP. This would prevent applicants from refusing assistance and then reapplying to the local authority when the circumstances of their case have not materially changed. We would welcome assurances that legislation takes into account the points this amendment is seeking to address.
  • We support the intent behind New Clause 3 tabled by Andy Slaughter MP. This would remove an administrative burden on local authorities and would ensure that information is provided in a simple and accessible manner. We would welcome assurances that legislation takes into account the points this amendment is seeking to address.
  • We support the intent behind New Clauses 4 and 5 which relate to the funding and impact of the new duties in the Bill. Local government wants to make a success of any new legislation. At this stage it is difficult to predict the impact of the legislation and the costs for local housing authorities in meeting duties, therefore it will be important to assess how the new duties are operating into the future and ensuring local housing authorities are sufficiently funded.

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LGA Briefing - Homelessness Reduction Bill, House of Commons Public Bill Committee, Wednesday 7 December 2016


House of Commons Public Bill Committee, Wednesday 30 November 2016

Key messages

  • Councils want to end homelessness and are already doing everything they can within existing resources to prevent and tackle it, but there is no silver bullet and councils alone cannot tackle rising homelessness.
  • The LGA is calling on the Government to commit to undertaking a comprehensive and regular review of the Bill's impact – on the numbers coming forward to access new duties and the financial impact on councils – following implementation. This would ensure the legislation is achieving its objectives and that councils are being properly funded.
  • The Homelessness Reduction Bill is in far more workable than the original draft following productive engagement of councils and the LGA by Bob Blackman MP and the Bill's supporters in its development. The LGA supports the intent of many of the amendments proposed by MPs, which seek to ensure the legislation is workable and delivers on our collective ambitions to better prevent and resolve homelessness. In doing so we are not seeking to obstruct the passage of the Bill through Parliament.
  • We support Amendment 11, tabled by Andy Slaughter MP, and Amendment 2, tabled by Clive Betts MP which relate to Clause 10. These amendments seek to ensure that where a public authority makes a referral to a housing authority in respect of a person who is at risk of homelessness the public authority is under a duty to cooperate with the housing authority. It is important that all public services work in partnership to take action to help prevent or relieve homelessness for households facing varied circumstances.
  • We support the intent behind Amendments 5, 6, 7 and 8 tabled by Andy Slaughter MP. We would welcome assurances that legislation takes into account the points these amendments are seeking to address.

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LGA briefing - Homelessness Reduction Bill, House of Commons Public Bill Committee, Wednesday 30 November 2016


House of Commons, Second Reading, 28 October 2016

Key messages

  • The LGA has worked productively with Bob Blackman MP following the first drafting of the Bill. We look forward to working to ensure the Bill delivers on our collective ambitions to better help prevent and resolve homelessness.
  • Councils want to end homelessness and are already doing everything they can within existing resources to support those who become homeless to get into accommodation and to prevent it happening in the first place.
  • Legislative change will only deliver on our ambitions if implemented alongside housing, employment and welfare reforms that tackle the broader causes of homelessness. If we are all to succeed in ending homelessness, then all new and existing duties on councils must be fully funded.

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Homelessness Reduction Bill House of Commons, Second Reading 28 October 2016

 

22 February 2017