My right honourable friend the Minister for Housing and Planning has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
During the passage of the 2004 Housing Bill the Government made commitments to consider whether it is possible to devise an approach to overcrowding that provides for some incremental improvement in standards over a period; and to consult on how the new Section 216 powers could be used to amend the statutory overcrowding standards in Part X of the Housing Act 1985.
The Government are today publishing a discussion document, Tackling Overcrowding in England, which sets out options for revising the outdated definition of overcrowding and developing long-term solutions. This document is designed to stimulate and garner ideas about how best we can tackle the problemsof overcrowding. DCLG officials will be actively engaging stakeholders in discussions, which will conclude on 15 September 2006. Copies of the document have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
The Government are also providing a £51 million package for tackling overcrowding and increasing the number of settled homes for people in temporary accommodation. The funding announced today is focused on two key areas.
Some £21 million will be made available for immediate action to tackle overcrowding, by increasing the supply of family homes in London. This could include converting existing homes to create extra bedrooms; adding extensions to existing council stock; building or purchasing additional homes, or buying back right-to-buy homes. Five co-ordinators will also be funded to work across London to tackle the most immediate problems of overcrowding.
Some £30 million will also be provided to fund an Extra Home pilot, which could help to deliver up to an extra 1,000 settled homes for families who are currently in temporary accommodation.