MPs make a passionate plea for new Homelessness Reduction Bill

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The Houses of Parliament hosted passionate representations from MPs regarding the Homelessness Reduction Bill, with former housing ministers insisting the Government should properly invest in the proposals to make them viable.

Conservative MP Bob Blackman, who brought forward the private member's bill, warned that the current rules regarding the acceptance of who is classed as homeless are "a national disgrace".

Bob Blackman introduced the Bill and made a passionate plea for its progression through the House of Commons
Bob Blackman introduced the Bill and made a passionate plea for its progression through the House of Commons (PA Archive)

He said: "In this day and age, homelessness is something that comes as a result of many different causes.

"What we as Members of Parliament know is that the result of homelessness is often that someone who reaches that crisis in their lives will naturally go to their local authority seeking help.

"They will often be told: 'Go home, wait until the bailiffs arrive and come back'."

His draft legislation requires local authorities to provide new homelessness services to all those affected - not just those who are protected under existing legislation.

It would place a duty on councils to help eligible people at risk of homelessness to secure accommodation 56 days before they are threatened with homelessness.

Those who do find themselves homeless would be given support for 56 days to find somewhere to live.

Some factions of the Government have warned that the Bill could cost millions of pounds and sap funds for other vital services, but many have welcomed the proposals as a step towards a more compassionate approach to the homeless and desperately poor people in modern Britain.

Former housing minister Mark Prisk said: "I think this Bill offers a great opportunity to reduce but not remove homelessness.

"I think we all know and understand that it is an important opportunity - an opportunity to focus on prevention, an opportunity to raise the standards of advice and support across the country, and it's an opportunity to ensure that more people get help sooner."