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Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much it cost per week on average to house temporarily a homeless family in priority need in the last year for which figures are available; and what the total cost was of housing such families. [124694]

Information annually reported to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister by local authorities identifies expenditure incurred in respect of bed and breakfast, private sector leasing and all other forms of temporary accommodation used by homeless households. This includes associated costs, such as the provision of furniture, property maintenance/refurbishment, rent guarantees, nomination fees and administrative costs, chargeable to the general fund services revenue account, along with any specific capital charges. Latest available information is for 2001–02, when it is estimated that gross expenditure on homelessness in England amounted to some £436.0 million. Net total costs—after taking into account rents received directly from tenants, and housing benefit payments such as rent allowance—amounted to £190.75 million. In addition, net expenditure on homelessness funded from the housing revenue account—for example where the local authority's own vacant stock is used on a temporary basis—was estimated at £21.6 million.The return does not seek corresponding information on average unit costs but, from estimates of household-days spent in temporary accommodation derived from quarterly statistical returns, it is estimated that the overall average gross cost per household during 2001–02, including HRA-funded expenditure, was some £156 per week. The average net cost per household, excluding housing benefit/rent allowances and rent payments met directly by tenants, was £73 per week.