Exempt accommodation provides a vital service to some of the most vulnerable people in our society. The care, support and supervision they are provided helps them to live as independently as possible in their communities.
I was deeply concerned to read reports of disturbing treatment and abuse in the exempt accommodation sector detailed in the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee report. I know that my ministerial colleagues are aware of a minority of supported housing landlords providing poor quality accommodation and insufficient support for residents. It is completely unacceptable for anyone to abuse the exempt accommodation system and issues must be addressed to ensure vulnerable people can access the accommodation and support they deserve.
As such, I understand that the Government will be bringing forward a package of targeted and proportionate measures to put an end to unscrupulous landlords exploiting the system. This will include setting minimum standards for the support provided and equipping local authorities in England with new powers to manage their local supported housing market. Additionally, changes will be made to the Housing Benefit system to define care, support and supervision and improve quality and value for money.
This builds on the 2020 National Statement of Expectations for supported housing which launched five pilots to test innovative approaches to provision and drive-up standards. Ministers have confirmed that pilot authorities were able to drive improvements in quality of accommodation and support for residents. These lessons will be at the heart of a new £20 million Supported Housing Improvement Programme which will improve standards in some of the worst affected areas.
Just one situation in which a vulnerable person is placed in inadequate exempt accommodation without the support they require is one too many. The Government has stepped in to address issues in the sector and will continue to work with councils, housing providers and other bodies to improve living standards for the most vulnerable.
Finally, I am aware that the Member for Harrow East has tabled a Private Members Bill concerning the regulation of supported exempt accommodation. I am assured that the Government has announced a range of measures to put an end to egregious practices in the exempt accommodation sector, and I will be following the progress of this Bill closely.