Neil Coyle Written Questions

27 Questions to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government tabled by Neil Coyle


Date Title Questioner
24 Mar 2020, 4:28 p.m. Local Government Finance: Coronavirus Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the Hardship Fund announced in Budget 2020; and how the effectiveness of the Hardship Fund will be measured.

Answer (Mr Simon Clarke)

The Government will provide English councils with £500 million to support financially vulnerable residents, and expects that most of the funding will be used to provide additional council tax relief.

Further guidance is available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/council-tax-covid-19-hardship-fund-2020-to-2021-guidance.

23 Mar 2020, 5:39 p.m. Local Government Finance: Coronavirus Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the timescale is for the allocation of funding from the £500 million fund for local authorities to support individuals affected by covid-19, announced in Budget 2020.

Answer (Mr Simon Clarke)

The Government will provide English councils with £500 million to support financially vulnerable residents, and expects that most of the funding will be used to provide additional council tax relief.

The Government will set out further details and allocations for individual authorities in the coming days.

23 Mar 2020, 5:39 p.m. Local Government Finance: Coronavirus Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how the £500 million in funding announced in Budget 2020 to help people affected by covid-19 will be allotted to local authorities; and what steps his Department will take to ensure that it is allocated on the basis of need.

Answer (Mr Simon Clarke)

The Government will provide English councils with £500 million to support financially vulnerable residents, and expects that most of the funding will be used to provide additional council tax relief.

The Government will set out further details and allocations for individual authorities in the coming days.

9 Mar 2020, 5:36 p.m. Sleeping Rough: Death Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many deaths have been recorded as a result of homeless people taking shelter in bins which are then removed by refuse workers in each of the last twelve months; what steps he is taking to help prevent further such deaths; and whether he plans to provide training to refuse workers to help reduce the risk of further deaths.

Answer (Luke Hall)

Every premature death of someone homeless is one too many and we take this matter extremely seriously. It should not happen that people die prematurely and on the street because they are homeless.

We are absolutely committed to ending rough sleeping by the end of this parliament. To achieve this, we are providing £437 million to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping in 2020/2021.This marks a £69 million increase in funding from the previous year.

This year we have expanded the Rough Sleeping Initiative with investment of £46 million for 246 areas – providing funding for an estimated 2,600 bed spaces and 750 staff. Next year, we are allocating a further £112 million to around 270 areas, funding up to 6,000 bed spaces and 2,500 staff. And this is having an impact. The RSI impact evaluation shows that the Initiative has reduced the number of people sleeping rough by 32 per cent in the areas funded, compared to the number it would have been had the RSI not been in place.

We do not hold data on the number of deaths as a result of people taking shelter in refuse bins. However, we understand some local councils and businesses have conducted research and supplied advice on this issue in recent years.

This Government is aware that a skilled frontline workforce is essential to delivering good services and ultimately reducing homelessness. Delivery of the Key Groups Training programme launched in Summer 2019.  The training programme is expected to cater for 3,450 members of the frontline homelessness workforce by the end of June 2020.

Local authorities and outreach teams work tirelessly to ensure that appropriate support is given to all rough sleepers regardless of where they are found, be that in tents, doorways, bins or on the street.

11 Feb 2020, 3:47 p.m. Vagrancy Act 1824 Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the timetable is for conclusion of the review of the Vagrancy Act 1824.

Answer (Luke Hall)

The cross-Government Rough Sleeping Strategy, which was published in August 2018, committed to reviewing homelessness and rough sleeping legislation, including the Vagrancy Act 1824 by March 2020.

9 Sep 2019, 3:31 p.m. Sleeping Rough Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he (a) is taking and (b) plans to take to meet the target to end rough-sleeping by 2027.

Answer (Luke Hall)

No one should ever have to sleep rough. That is why this Government committed to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and then eliminate it altogether by 2027. Last summer we published the cross-government Rough Sleeping Strategy, set out an ambitious £100 million package to help people who sleep rough now, but also puts in place the structures that will end rough sleeping once and for all. The Government has now committed over £1.2 billion to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping over the spending review period.

As part of this, the Rough Sleeping Initiative has delivered over 1,750 new bed spaces as well as enabling the areas with the highest levels of rough sleeping to hire more than 500 new staff to focus solely on this issue. The Rapid Rehousing Pathway provides local areas with support to deliver ‘Somewhere Safe to Stay’ hubs, specialist navigators, local lettings agencies and supported lettings. Figures from the Official 2018 Rough Sleeping Snapshot show that the number of people sleeping on our streets on one night in 2018 was 2 per cent lower compared to the previous year.

9 Sep 2019, 12:48 p.m. Religious Hatred: Islam Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if the Government will take steps to adopt the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims' definition of Islamophobia.

Answer (Luke Hall)

The Government is committed to defining and tackling anti-Muslim hatred. We have appointed Imam Qari Asim MBE, Deputy Chair of the Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group, to lead a process for establishing a definition jointly with further advisers to be confirmed in due course.

This new work will draw on a wide range of opinions and work in collaboration with the cross-government Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group, to ensure that it commands broad support within Muslim communities and wider society.

17 Dec 2018, 5:47 p.m. Sleeping Rough Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 10 December 2018 to Question 199419 on Sleeping Rough, how much funding his Department will provide to Streetlink in winter 2018.

Answer (Mrs Heather Wheeler)

As previously noted, MHCLG have provided annual funding of £300,000 to StreetLink since it was launched in 2012. This annual funding arrangement is the most effective method to support the running and development of the service, including preparing for and responding to the peak in demand during the winter period. We, therefore, do not provide additional funding during the winter period. Last winter, StreetLink made significant improvements to the website and app and these continue to be reviewed to improve capability. StreetLink is also supported through the recruitment of dedicated and hardworking volunteers. MHCLG works closely with Homeless Link and St Mungo’s, the organisations responsible for StreetLink, to ensure the service continues to run effectively.

StreetLink provides early intelligence to local homelessness services helping to get people off the streets as quickly as possible. However, we know this is only the first step and this response relies on other vital services. On 31 October, we launched the Cold Weather Fund of up to £5 million, for all local authorities to provide a robust, local response to support rough sleepers off the streets prior to the impending winter period. This is available now until March 2019.

The Government is committed to reducing homelessness and rough sleeping. No one should ever have to sleep rough. That is why this summer we published the cross-government Rough Sleeping Strategy. This sets out an ambitious £100 million package to help people who sleep rough now but also puts in place the structures that will end rough sleeping once and for all. The Government has now committed over £1.2 billion to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping over the spending review period.

3 Dec 2018, 4:27 p.m. Leasehold: Reform Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will include the Association of Residential Managing Agents in his departmental working group on the future of leasehold reform.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

There are no plans to make the Association of Residential Managing Agents (ARMA) a member of the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group. The composition of the working group's membership needs to reflect a balance of interests between property agents and housing consumers. Already included within the working group are two professional bodies with knowledge and experience of property management: the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and the Institute of Residential Property Management. Both these organisations have members who are also members of ARMA, or work on behalf of them. The working group will wish to invite others to personally provide evidence and give their views. When the working group discusses managing agents, ARMA will be at the forefront of the list of organisations for this purpose.

4 Sep 2018, 12:05 p.m. Social Rented Housing: Construction Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether his Department has made an assessment of the effect on contributions to the public purse of the implications of increases in the building of social rented housing for (a) construction sector contributions to the economy and the exchequer, (b) the cost of temporary accommodation provision, (c) welfare spending, (d) income, corporation and council tax receipts and (e) any other factors.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

For all types of affordable housing that are grant-funded by the Government (including Social Rent, Affordable Rent, and Low Cost Home Ownership), we assess the impact that the new homes have on the Housing Benefit bill, as well as the broader economic benefits associated with making more efficient use of land, the distributional benefits of supporting lower-income groups, and the health benefits associated with improved housing circumstances.

18 Jul 2018, 1:57 p.m. Affordable Housing Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of linking the definition of affordability for new build homes to average local earnings.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

The current definition of affordable housing was recently consulted on as part of the revised draft National Planning Policy Framework. This is in line with the existing statutory definition of social housing as set out in legislation from the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008. Eligibility is determined with regard to local incomes and local house prices, and the Framework does require that plan making authorities should identify the size, type and tenure of homes required for those who require affordable housing. This is a matter to be determined at a local level based on relevant evidence which may include consideration of average local earnings. We intend to publish the final version of the revised Framework before summer recess.

18 Jul 2018, 1:40 p.m. Affordable Housing Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of devolving the means of setting affordable homes to local planning authorities.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

For affordable housing delivered through the planning system it is up to local authorities to set policies for affordable housing in plans, and determine planning applications accordingly.

Proposals in the draft revised National Planning Policy Framework aim to support local authorities in creating clearer policy requirements in plans for developer contributions expected for affordable housing and infrastructure.

9 Jul 2018, 4:40 p.m. Alcoholic Drinks: Rehabilitation Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the total local authority expenditure on alcohol treatment services in England was in (a) 2014, (b) 2015, (c) 2016 and (d) 2017; and if he will publish that same information by region.

Answer (Rishi Sunak)

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government hold partial records of the information requested. Spend on alcohol treatment was first recorded as a separate item in 2016-17 (£191,000 for England).

MHCLG has not produced statistics at regional level since 2012, as per Ministerial Statement:

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/local-statistics

Figures on local authority expenditure on public health services, are collected on the Revenue Outturn (RO3) form available from:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/local-authority-revenue-expenditure-and-financing-england-2016-to-2017-individual-local-authority-data-outturn

21 Jun 2018, 4:09 p.m. Sleeping Rough: Temporary Accommodation Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent assessment he has made of the availability of emergency accommodation for people sleeping rough.

Answer (Nigel Adams)

Rough sleeping is dangerous and no one should ever have to sleep rough. The Government is building a country that is fit for the future which cares for the most vulnerable in our society. We remain committed halving rough sleeping over the course of this parliament and ending it by 2027, ensuring everyone has a roof over their head and receives all the support they need to rebuild their lives.

Homeless Link conducts an annual survey of the capacity, support and services available to people who become homeless in England, including emergency accommodation, which is available online: https://www.homeless.org.uk/facts/our-research/annual-review-of-single-homelessness-support-in-england

Through our Rough Sleeping Initiative we have been working closely with 83 local authorities, looking at existing provision and proposals to boost the immediate support available to people living on the streets and help them into accommodation. The £30 million fund will be used to provide an additional 1,750 additional bed spaces for rough sleepers and an additional 531 dedicated homelessness workers. The funding will also help improve the co-ordination of services available to those in need and at risk.

20 Jun 2018, 4:08 p.m. Homelessness: Death Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps the Government is taking to tackle the number of homeless people dying.

Answer (Nigel Adams)

The death of any homeless person is a tragedy. One person without a home is one too many and we are determined to tackle this issue, which is why this Government has committed to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and end it by 2027.

In order to achieve this target I will be publishing a Rough Sleeping Strategy this July. As part of this work my Department has established the Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel and a cross-Government Taskforce. By drawing upon the knowledge of the Panel and the support from across Whitehall, the strategy will not only end rough sleeping by 2027, but in the meantime ensure the right support is provided to prevent rough sleepers dying on our streets.

We have recently allocated £30 million that will be used to provide an additional 1,750 bed spaces for rough sleepers and an additional 531 dedicated homelessness workers ahead of next winter.

Furthermore, the Government recently implemented the most ambitious legislative reform in this area in decades, the Homelessness Reduction Act, which will mean that more people will get the help they need sooner.

3 May 2018, 12:50 p.m. Homelessness Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of Housing First targets to (a) reduce rough sleeping and (b) fund supported housing.

Answer (Mrs Heather Wheeler)

International evidence shows that Housing First can be successful at ending the homelessness of those with the most complex needs. The Government is investing in three regional pilots to test the effectiveness of the approach in England.

These pilots build upon learning from the Housing First Feasibility study Government co-funded in Liverpool City region, published in July 2017, which showed that Housing First could work to end the homelessness of those with the most complex needs

Regarding Supported Housing funding reforms, an interim response to the consultation on the models was published on 3 April 2018 and a full response will be published in the summer.

1 May 2018, 12:33 p.m. Homelessness Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the wrap-around substance misuse and mental health services that will required to help ensure the targets for Housing First are met.

Answer (Mrs Heather Wheeler)

These pilots build upon learning from the Housing First Feasibility study Government co-funded in Liverpool City region, published in July 2017, which showed that Housing First could work to end the homelessness of those with the most complex needs, if delivered as an integrated part of wider homelessness services. The report set out a blue print for the necessary mental health provision embedded within the core Housing First Teams and the relationships with other local services necessary to make the approach a success.

Government committed £28 million at budget 2017 to implement three regional Housing First pilots in the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, and Liverpool City Region.

13 Mar 2018, 4:29 p.m. Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how the members of the Government's Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel were selected.

Answer (Mrs Heather Wheeler)

The aim of the Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel is to draw together a range of expertise and insight to inform the development of the Government’s forthcoming strategy to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and eradicate it by 2027. Members were invited from across local government, homelessness and housing sectors to bring that depth of expertise.

We are already taking action to support rough sleepers – including providing £28 million to pilot the Housing First approach for rough sleepers with the most complex needs. The pilots will cover the West Midlands Combined Authority, Greater Manchester, and the Liverpool City Region.

21 Dec 2017, 3:45 p.m. High Rise Flats: Fire Extinguishers Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will publish the criteria by which his Department is assessing the adequacy of local authorities' funding for the retrospective fitting of sprinklers in tower blocks.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

Building owners are responsible for funding fire safety measures in their buildings, and local authorities should draw on existing resources to implement these measures. However, if a local authority considers works to be essential, based on expert advice and taking into account any recommendations or advice from the local fire and rescue service, we will consider the removal of financial restrictions. This might be either extending the ability to borrow within the Housing Revenue Account, or possibly a one off agreement to use general fund money.

Any local authority that wishes to discuss their position should contact my Department.

19 Dec 2017, 4:07 p.m. High Rise Flats: Fire Extinguishers Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, whether there is any funding pending to the London Borough of Southwark for the retrofitting of sprinklers in tower blocks.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

As we have said, we will consider the removal of financial restrictions for local authorities where these stand in the way of essential fire safety work being done, and we would welcome a discussion with London Borough of Southwark if they feel financial flexibilities are needed to carry out essential fire safety work in order to make their buildings safe.

It is down to the local authority to determine what measures are essential. Building owners are responsible for funding fire safety measures in their buildings. If a local authority building owner considers a building to be unsafe, they will need to determine what measures are essential to make a building safe, based on expert advice and taking into account any recommendations or advice from the local fire and rescue service.

12 Sep 2017, 10:56 a.m. Supported Housing: Finance Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what the effect has been of changes in the timetable for introducing supported housing funding on the availability of new accommodation.

Answer (Mr Marcus Jones)

Developing a workable and sustainable funding model for supported housing is a priority for the Government. This includes new supply. We will set out further details in the autumn.

We are committed to protecting and boosting the supply of supported housing. Since 2011, we have delivered 27,000 supported housing units and at Autumn Statement 2015, we announced £400 million of funding as part of DCLG’s Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme, to deliver new supported housing.

The Homes and Community Agency publishes official statistics on its affordable housing delivery programme in England (excluding London, where the Mayor of London has oversight), including on supported housing, which may be found here for the last 2 years:

2015-16

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/532222/Housing_Statistics_tables_June_2016.pdf

2016-17

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/620147/Housing_Statistics_tables_June_2017.pdf

6 Sep 2017, 4:20 p.m. Fire Prevention: Disability Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that disabled people being evacuated from buildings that fail fire safety inspections are found suitably accessible housing.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

The Government believes it is important that people who require accessible housing are given the right level of priority under a council’s housing allocation scheme, and that councils and social landlords are able to make the best use of affordable housing in their area, including accommodation which is accessible or has been adapted. We have retained the statutory ‘reasonable preference’ requirements which ensure that priority for social housing is given to those who need to move on medical and welfare grounds, and this includes grounds relating to a disability.

The Government also funds the Disabled Facilities Grant, which pays for adaptations to the homes of disabled people to help them live safely and independently. Local housing authorities are under a statutory duty to provide adaptations for those people who qualify for the grant. The Disabled Facilities Grant funding for England for 2017-18 is £431 million.

24 Jul 2017, 4:01 p.m. Fires: Disability Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if the Grenfell public enquiry will give due regard to the needs of disabled people and make recommendations on their protection and means of escape in case of fire.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

Before the public inquiry starts, the inquiry Chair will consult all those with an interest, including survivors and victims’ families, about the terms of reference. Following that consultation the Chair will make a recommendation to the Prime Minister, who will return to Parliament with the final terms of reference for the inquiry once this process has taken place. Matters of procedure and conduct for the inquiry are for the Chair to determine.

20 Jul 2017, 4:52 p.m. Council Housing: Fire Prevention Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if the Government will cover the costs incurred by leaseholders of council-owned property for any necessary fire safety improvements.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

We are aware of the potential impact on leaseholders in council owned properties and are currently working to understand them.

11 Jul 2017, 9:49 a.m. Rented Housing: Fire Prevention Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what timeframe the Government has provided to (a) local authorities, (b) housing associations and (c) private landlords to undertake fire safety inspections; and what additional resources the Government plans to provide for those inspections.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

In his statement of 26 June, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government urged those authorities and landlords which have not yet submitted samples to do so urgently.

Where Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding is present on social housing over 18 metres in height, the Government is providing testing for local authorities and housing associations free of charge. If the screening tests indicate that such cladding would not meet the limited combustibility requirements of the current Building Regulations guidance, local authorities housing associations and the fire and rescue service will determine the best course of action, communicating closely with residents. Where work is necessary to ensure the fire safety of a building, we will ensure that lack of financial resources will not prevent them going ahead.

11 Jul 2017, 9:38 a.m. Housing: Fire Extinguishers Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if the government will ensure that it fully funds any change in policy on retrofitting sprinklers in (a) local authority housing, (b) other housing used by public bodies and (c) NHS property.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

Where work is necessary to ensure the fire safety of social houing, we will ensure that lack of financial resources will not prevent it going ahead.

5 Jul 2017, 4:40 p.m. Local Government Finance: Fire Prevention Neil Coyle

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what additional resources the Government plans to provide to councils for fire safety inspections.

Answer (Alok Sharma)

My Department has issued advice on the interim mitigating measures landlords should implement. Cost considerations must not get in the way of making sure that residents are safe. Where work is necessary to ensure the fire safety of a building, we will ensure that lack of financial resources will not prevent them going ahead.