Local authorities across the UK are significantly underfunded when it comes to fulfilling their new statutory duty to prevent homelessness according to a respected quarterly survey of all council chief executives, leaders and mayors. The NLGN Leadership Index found that 67 per cent of council chiefs think they do not have sufficient funding to fulfil their statutory duty to prevent homelessness. Only 19 per cent state that they do have adequate funding to meet the new requirements. Focusing on predominantly urban areas (London and Metropolitan Borough councils), the figures soar with 86 per cent saying they are unlikely to meet their statutory duty.
The news will come as a blow to the Government on the first anniversary of the introduction of the flagship Homelessness Reduction Act. Councils have been provided with £72.7 million to undertake their new duty to help prevent homelessness but, as NLGN’s survey reveals, this is not proving adequate in the face of high demand.
The survey found that while many council chiefs are positive about the HRA’s commitment to shift towards a mode that prevents homelessness arising in the first place, there were serious concerns about the resources available to achieve this goal. A Conservative leader of a district council stated that ‘Government funding is only for a set period of time, three years from 2017, with no guarantees beyond this period’ while a Chief Executive commented that ‘the Act is a very positive looking sticking plaster’.
Adam Lent, the Director of the New Local Government Network, said:
“The Government’s aspiration to shift towards prevention is admirable but this survey shows that without sustained, long-term funding of local government it will make that goal much harder and probably impossible to achieve.
“There is an urgent need for Government to review current funding for homelessness, particularly in the long-term, and ensure its policy aims marry with the resources available to local authorities across the UK”.
The NLGN Leadership Index is a survey of council leaders, chief executives and mayors of local authorities across the UK first published in March 2018. It provides a platform for councils to express their level of confidence in delivering key services and the overall experience of their community.
Notes to editors
1. The full analysis of the latest Leadership Index survey can be found here.
2. For further information, please contact Molly Jarritt, External Affairs Officers at NLGN, on 07714 448036 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. The NLGN Leadership Index survey was sent to 816 council leaders, chief executives and mayors across the UK. It was open between 27th February 2019 and Friday 8th March 2019. This latest survey received a total of 188 complete responses, which translates to a 24 per cent response rate. Survey responses were received from all UK regions.
4. NLGN asked respondents for their views on whether current funding is sufficient to fulfil their new statutory obligation to prevent homelessness. Questions and responses as follows: