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Supported Accommodation: Care Standards

Volume 702: debated on Monday 25 October 2021

4. What recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the regulation of standards of care in exempt supported accommodation. (903782)

Supported housing plays a vital role in delivering better outcomes for some of the most vulnerable people in our society. My Department has been working with local authorities on several pilots focused on improving the quality of accommodation and support for people in exempt accommodation. We have given more than £5 million to five councils, including almost £2 million to Birmingham City Council. The pilots concluded in September, and we are assessing the findings to decide our next steps.

I am aware of the pilots, but the Minister must know that in more than 150,000 exempt accommodation premises across the country, vulnerable people are living in the most appalling circumstances. The regulator recently judged that the largest provider in Birmingham was non-compliant, while it is costing the taxpayer £110 million in Birmingham alone. For how much longer does he think the Government will be able to tolerate this state of affairs?

It is important that we consider the fact that there are some excellent providers of supported housing across the country, and I say that with a vested interest, because I worked for one of them in Birmingham before I came to Parliament. Although I fully appreciate that the number of units of supported accommodation in Birmingham has doubled from approximately 11,000 to 22,000, it only takes a small percentage of rogue landlords to create a significant problem. As I said, we will continue to work closely with the council and Sharon Thompson, the councillor responsible there, to ensure we come up with a solution. I respect the hon. Gentleman tremendously, and I look forward to working with him on this issue.