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Council House Tenants (Rent Arrears)

Volume 961: debated on Wednesday 31 January 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, in the light of the rent arrears of £61·9 million by council house tenants in 1977–78, he will now issue instructions to officials of his Department that social security benefits made in respect of rent and rates should be paid direct to the local authorities.

No. The rent element of supplementary benefit is already paid direct to the local authority where the tenant is in persistent default with his rent. To do this for all tenants on supplementary benefit, the vast majority of whom are not in arrears, would be not only an unwarranted interference in the individual's right to look after his affairs himself but also a misuse of scarce staff resources in my Department.