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House of Commons Hansard
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04 March 2019
Volume 655
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8. What steps his Department is taking to reduce homelessness. [909529]

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Tackling home- lessness and rough sleeping is a key priority for this Government. We are spending more than £1.2 billion on homelessness through to 2020, with our rough sleeping initiative delivering more than 1,750 additional beds and 500 support staff. We recently published our delivery plan for the rough sleeping strategy, which will help us see rough sleeping become a thing of the past.

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I thank the Secretary of State for that answer. I say to him unequivocally that there are still not enough resources going into rural shire counties such as Shropshire to deal with this issue and many others, but does he agree that the rapid rehousing pathway announcement will be crucial in solving rough sleeping?

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I know that my hon. Friend has been a champion for Shropshire and I commend him for his work on homelessness and on other issues. He rightly highlights the rapid rehousing pathway. That is a key part of our rough sleeping strategy to see that support and care are provided quickly and to see people getting off the street into homes, providing all the assistance they require.

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Home- lessness in Birmingham has increased by nearly 1,000% and almost 100 people have died homeless in the past five years. This is a moral emergency. My interviews with homeless people show that collapsing healthcare services are part of the problem, yet the homeless people in our city have a primary care system rated as “inadequate”. What steps can the Secretary of State take to fix this—not when the service is recommissioned in two years’ time, but now, before more people die?

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I recognise the right hon. Gentleman’s passion, and indeed we have spoken about the situation in Birmingham. I hope he will acknowledge the additional funding that will be going to Birmingham in the next financial year through the rough sleeping initiative and the funding that NHS England has committed to health services for rough sleepers. Clearly, I will want to know and be certain that funding is applied to Birmingham and those areas where we have seen an increase in rough sleeping, for the very purpose that he underlines; we can save lives.