A cross-party committee of MPs has today published a report which finds that the system of exempt accommodation is “a complete mess”.
The Committee rightfully notes that “the current system offers a licence to print money to those who wish to exploit it”.
It makes a number of recommendations to government to address the serious shortfalls in care and value for taxpayers money. These include:
- Publishing national standards which include the referrals process, the quality of housing and the care support or supervision the resident is receiving.
- Consideration of an accreditation scheme for providers, implemented on a graded basis so councils can assess the quality of provision.
- A change to planning regulations that would mean local authority can control the density of exempt accommodation to prevent oversaturation.
Shabana Mahmood, MP for Birmingham Ladywood, has spent years campaigning for stronger regulation of the sector.
Shabana Mahmood MP said:
“Today’s report from the Select Committee makes for alarming reading, confirming what we know – that this is a sector in crisis requiring immediate government intervention.
“It calls for many of the things that I’ve been lobbying the government to introduce for years.
“For too long my constituents have had to put up with runaway antisocial behaviour, unchecked criminality, and dumped rubbish on their streets, all funded by the taxpayer through housing benefit.
“A complete overhaul of the sector is long-overdue. We need national standards, a fit and proper persons test, and planning powers that mean local councils can finally stop the oversaturation of exempt properties in one area. It is high time the government acted.
“I will be pushing for the government to implement the Committee’s recommendations at pace. Our communities and constituents should not have to wait any longer.”