asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is satisfied that the Housing (Homeless Persons) Act does not place an unfair burden on local authorities and existing applicants on house waiting lists and if he will make a statement.
I have no evidence that the Act is interfering with the exercise by housing authorities of their general responsibilities.
Is the Minister aware that on both sides of the House there is great sympathy for the homeless? However, is it not the worst of all possible worlds for the Government to help the passage of a Bill and then fail to give guidance or finance to local authorities to help them to implement the Act?
We have given guidance. The evidence of the working of the Act in the past six months is that housing authorities generally are now beginning to use their housing stock to fulfil their requirements under the Act. That will attract grant and probably, ultimately, the cost to local authorities of providing for homeless people might be less.