Asked by Baroness King of Bow

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by the Minister of State for Housing, Mark Prisk, on 13 December 2012 (Official Report, Commons, col. 444W), whether the Department for Communities and Local Government paid the London Borough of Newham to host Andy Gale as a homelessness adviser in 2011-12; and if so, how much was paid to him, and which Minister or official approved the contract with the London Borough of Newham.

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): As the previous Answer explained, under this and the last Administration, the department has provided grant funding to a number of local authorities to support the provision of advice on preventing homelessness to complement the funding we provide to the voluntary sector.

The London Borough of Newham received a £72,000 grant in 2012, which was intended to meet some of the costs of providing homelessness advice to local authorities in London.

The payment to Newham was made under Section 31 of the Local Government Act 2003 (the general power to pay grant to local authorities towards expenditure incurred or to be incurred). The grant was unring-fenced and not subject to any conditions. There was no contract either between the department and London Borough of Newham or the department and Andy Gale.

While departmental officials had discussions with Newham about how the grant was to be spent, Ministers in this Administration had no involvement with local authorities on commissioning such services.