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Children in Temporary Accommodation

Volume 672: debated on Monday 24 February 2020

18. What recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of children in temporary accommodation since 2010. (900879)

Tackling homelessness is a key priority for this Government, which is why we implemented the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 to prevent homelessness. The number of children living in temporary accommodation is lower than the 2006 peak and has stabilised since the 2017 Act came into force. Of course, there is more that we can do, and we are providing a further £437 million in 2020-21 to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.

There are 6,000 children living in unregulated homes, often at great risk to their own safety. Councils have had their budgets cut by this Government, and children in care simply have nowhere else to turn. Six thousand children in care living in unregulated homes is 6,000 too many. When will the Government take the action that is needed to look after this vulnerable group of our youngest people?

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his question. He raises an extremely important matter.

The Secretary of State for Education has launched a review to see what more we can do and what further steps can be taken. Of course, it is hugely important to make sure that we are preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place, and that is why we are increasing homelessness and rough-sleeping funding by £69 million in the coming financial year.

Local authorities across the UK are placing unaccompanied vulnerable young people in private children’s homes across Blackpool without notifying either Blackpool Council or other statutory local agencies. What steps can the Minister take to ensure that any local authority placing such people in my constituency first notifies both my council and the police that those children are there?

Local authorities should make other local authorities aware of it when they are placing out of area; of course, we would always encourage local authorities to place in their area wherever possible. I am more than happy to speak to my hon. Friend about the specific example he raises.