I was delighted that today the Homelessness Reduction Bill has received Royal Assent and will now become law.
I wish to congratulate my Conservative colleague, Bob Blackman MP, and my fellow co-sponsors on the Communities and Local Government Select Committee who, with the support of the Government, brought the Bill to Parliament. This new law will provide significant support to those who are about to or have already been made homeless.
As you may be aware, the Act will place a new duty on councils to support those who are homeless. Councils will now be required to help those threatened with homelessness or who are already homeless find a home, and I am pleased that the Government has committed to providing councils with £61 million to help them deliver the new obligations under the Act.
This is in addition to central funding to tackle homelessness being increased to £149 million over the next four years, and homelessness prevention funding for local authorities being protected at £315 million by 2019-20. The Government is also providing £100 million for at least 2,000 low cost accommodation places for rough sleepers leaving hostel accommodation and domestic abuse victims and their families moving on from refuges.
Of course, every case of homelessness is a tragedy and the fight to tackle it does not end there. I am pleased to have met with homelessness charities such as St Mungo's, Shelter, Crisis UK and closer to home, the Wellspring in Stockport, to hear about the excellent work being done and how we can make a difference. As an MP in the last Parliament, I always pressed the Government and the Council to do more to prevent homelessness, and I am proud to have co-sponsored the Bill and pleased that the Government has introduced these vital funds.