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'They're passing the buck': Why Greater Manchester's Mayor is concerned about a new homelessness law

The Mayor of Greater Manchester says a new law to help reduce the number of people sleeping rough will heap more pressure on overstretched councils.

The legislation, which requires earlier intervention by councils to prevent homelessness, comes into force today.

But Andy Burnham says that central government is "passing the buck" to local level without providing sufficient support:

They're passing the buck down to the local level and almost saying 'If there is homelessness, it's going to be your responsibility'.

That isn't fair, and also they aren't listening to what councils are saying about cuts to housing benefit and also the introduction of Universal Credit.

– Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester
The number of people sleeping rough has reached 'crisis level' - according to charities. Credit: PA

Greater Manchester saw an increase in rough sleeping of 42% in 2017 - and the mayor has committed to end rough sleeping in the area by 2020.