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Housing Benefit

Volume 116: debated on Friday 15 May 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) why, in the light of the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. McCrindle) on 22 April, Official Report, column 596, the revised draft housing benefit regulations have not yet been made available to local authorities; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he is considering deferring the implementation date for the new housing benefit scheme for April 1988 until a later date; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend to my hon. Friend the Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. McCrindle) today.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he proposes to lay regulations for the 1988 housing benefit reforms.

[pursuant to the reply, 22 April 1987, c. 596]: As explained in the earlier reply, the regulations for the 1988 housing benefit reforms will be laid before Parliament when the Government's proposals on benefit rates are finalised in the autumn.Revised draft regulations on the detailed structure of the new scheme will be issued to all local authorities on Monday 18 May following consultation on the earlier drafts. These regulations set out firm proposals on the detailed structure required for local authorities to prepare for implementation of the scheme in April 1988. Copies of the draft regulations will be placed in the Library.The draft regulations confirm that from April 1988 the Government expect everyone who is liable to pay domestic rates to make a minimum contribution of 20 per cent. of their rates bill. However, when the rates for income support are set in the autumn, they will include the average amount that we expect householders who are income support claimants to have to meet as their minimum contribution. The details will be determined at the time the benefit rates are decided. This will mean that income support claimants will receive compensation in April 1988 in their benefit entitlement, whilst at the same time preserving the vital principle of local accountability. This compensation will also be reflected in the rates that will determine help for others on low incomes receiving housing benefit and family credit.