asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what surveys have been undertaken by his Department to ascertain the numbers and proportion of private landlord tenants applying for rent allowances; what the surveys reveal; and what steps he proposes to increase the take-up by those who are entitled to such allowances.
The number of private tenants who have successfully applied for rent allowances is collected annually by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and in periodic returns to the Department by local authorities. This number as a proportion of those who are eligible is derived from the Family Expenditure Survey, and is estimated at between 20 per cent. and 25 per cent. The results of a special survey undertaken by the Office of Population and Census Surveys to monitor the extent to which tenants knew of, had applied for, and were receiving, rent rebates and allowances, are now being assessed. Departmental research directed towards seeking the reasons for unsatisfactory take-up levels will be completed this year, and local authorities will be consulted on the follow-up action necessary to improve it.