On 16 April I wrote to Boris Johnson after it became apparent that £5.3 million had been removed from the GLA’s budget for rough sleeping. The Mayor has consistently said that the full £33.8 million devolved to him from central government specifically for rough sleeping services (although not ring-fenced) would be spent on services.
The text is below.
Dear Mayor Johnson
Rough Sleeping Budget
I write in relation to the rough sleeping element of the Mayor’s 2012/13 Budget.
Homelessness charities have written to your office expressing concern that you appear to have diverted £5.3 million of the £33.8 million given to you by the government to spend on rough sleeping provision.
Their letter highlights:
“The £33.8 million was specifically transferred from central government to be spent on commissioning services that cannot or would not be provided at a London borough level…. Cutting those resources can only imply that in future years such services will in turn be ended or their funding cut back.”
Having revisited your Budget, a number of questions have arisen.
- Your ‘Group Budget Proposals and Precepts 2012-13 Consultation Document’, published in December 2011, states that spending on rough sleeping provision would be at the full amount of £8.5 million per annum until 2015 (rounded up from £33.8 million over the four-year period). This was consistent with previous announcements by your office regarding the devolution and value of this fund.However, your finalised Budget of February 2012 shows an allocation of £28.5 million.This suggests that a decision was made to reduce the amount of money you would be allocating to such provision. Is this the case?
- Although you have allocated only £28.5 million in spending on rough sleeping services in your Budget, your spokesperson told the Evening Standard (10 April 2012) that you “will spend £33.8million over this comprehensive spending review period”. Can you provide information as to where the remaining £5.3 million will be found in your Budget?
- The Mayor’s ‘Rough Sleeping Commissioning Framework 2011-2015’ consultation closed on 12 August 2011. Yet eight months later no results have been announced. According to pages 15 and 16 of your Framework document, seven commissions providing vital services to London’s rough sleepers were due to have ended on 31 March 2012. This would suggest that it was vital that the publication of the final commissioning decision was made before that date.Therefore, could you tell me if those services are still being provided and, if so, how and on what basis are they being provided? Can you also tell me why you delayed publication of the final document beyond 31 March 2012 and if it will be published before the election?
I look forward to your response.
Nicky Gavron AM
Labour London-wide Assembly Member