Leeds council chief welcomes £100m Labour plan for rough sleeper accommodation

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A senior Leeds councillor has welcomed a plan by Labour to provide emergency accommodation for rough sleepers.

The party today said it would create a £100 million scheme for space to be used by rough sleepers on bitter winter nights, if in Government.

Coun Debra Coupar.

Coun Debra Coupar.

The money would come from a levy on second homes announced by the party in September.

Under the plans, second properties in England used as holiday homes would be subject to an average tax bill of more than £3,200.

Coun Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities and Labour member for Temple Newsam, said: “We fully welcome the announcement made by Labour to support rough sleepers with a £100m scheme nationwide.

"We are well aware that nationally the number rough sleepers has increased since 2010 and the additional funding would be able to provide increased support for these vulnerable people.

"In Leeds, we have been working on preventing homelessness, as well as working with our partners to offer real alternatives to rough sleeping."

There is already a severe weather emergency protocol, under which local authorities including Leeds City Council provide extra assistance for homeless people during cold snaps.

It comes as the Government has announced a £4.8 million project for “rough sleeping hubs” to take homeless people off the streets.

These are due to be up and running at 11 locations by spring 2019.

However, Leeds has not been included on the list.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported this week showed that more than 550 people have died homeless since the start of last winter.

Figures were compiled as part of the Bureau’s Dying Homeless investigation, which has been supported by the Yorkshire Evening Post.