Increase in young on London streets.

Homelessness among 16-17 year-olds and care leavers aged 18 to 20
has increased more than 600 per cent in London since 1997,
according to the Liberal Democrats.

Simon Hughes, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for London, said there
had been 305 homeless young people in the capital in 1997-8, but
the figure had risen to 2,038 in the last year.

Speaking in parliament last week, he warned the government was
“losing the battle against homelessness”.

The government would need to “urgently respond” to the growing
homelessness problem in London or risk “stoking up a set of huge
social problems”.

But Phil Hope, minister at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister,
said the government was not “shying away from the problem,” adding
the figures had risen because the safety net for homeless people
had been widened and more people were eligible for help.

The Office of Deputy Prime Minister select committee is currently
reviewing homelessness.

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