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Local authorities will continue to have a statutory obligation to provide temporary accommodation to single mothers...
Local authorities will continue to have a statutory obligation to provide temporary accommodation to single mothers with children, but will not be expected to put them at the top of the list for permanent housing, Housing Minister, Sir George Young, told BBC Radio Four's Today programme this morning.

Sir George, who will be speaking on the government's policy on homelessness at a conference today, said the position at the moment 'is that we have in effect a system which penalises those who act responsible and is seen to reward those who for what ever reason act irresponsibly'.

The government's policy on single mothers, he told the programme, will be that 'the local authority will be obliged to offer then temporary accommodation and that is likely to be.. a flat of their own in the private rented sector.

'Their needs will them be assessed alongside others on the waiting list to decide who then moves on to permanent accommodation and there won't necessarily be a premium on having become statutory homeless.'

Shadow environment secretary, Jack Straw told Today single mothers were being made scapegoats for the government's housing policy failures which had led to a shortage of affordable homes.

'If single mothers with children are forced into the private rented sector you're going to have a repeat of the bed and breakfast crisis we had in the 1980's,' he said. 'Is Sir George going to say...we're going to punish the child?'

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