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Housing Benefit

Volume 100: debated on Wednesday 25 June 1986

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what changes the Government plan to make to the system of rebates presently paid to local authorities for cash paid out in housing benefit.

Changes are proposed in the arrangements for subsidising local authorities' housing benefit expenditure as part of the proposals for the reform of the housing benefits scheme. Our objectives for the revised subsidy arrangements are to provide more incentives than now for local authorities to monitor and control costs whilst providing a fair level of support for expenditure which they properly incur.For benefit costs we originally proposed that 20 per cent. of benefit expenditure should he included in the rate support grant system with the remaining costs attracting a direct subsidy. Preliminary work on the effects of this proposal has indicated that it would not meet our objectives. We are therefore considering alternative ways of achieving the desired results and will be putting further proposals to the local authority interests.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has any plans to reduce the housing benefit claimed by those who are unemployed and living in rented accommodation.

We have no plans to reduce housing benefit specifically for unemployed people living in rented accommodation, although we intend to reduce overall expenditure on the scheme in 1988 as part of the social security reforms.