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Housing Benefit

Volume 124: debated on Thursday 17 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he is able to estimate the total first year savings arising from the April 1988 changes to the existing housing benefit scheme, and to isolate the individual savings achieved by (i) requiring all households to meet at least 20 per cent. of their rates bill, (ii) the increase in the taper on rent to 65 per cent. on net income, (iii) the phasing out of help with high, fixed fuel charges, (iv) the abolition of extra help with partial heating, (v) the increased rates contribution expected from non-dependants not in full-time work and (vi) any other separately identifiable saving; and if he will publish the figures in the Official Report.

[holding answer 3 December 1987]: The total savings from the April 1988 changes to the housing benefit scheme are currently estimated to be £650 million; £500 million of this is a saving on rate rebates and £150 million on rent rebates and allowances. These figures are based on the estimated cost of the new scheme compared with the estimated cost of extending the current scheme into 1988–89. We estimate that some two thirds of the total saving is a result of the requirement for households to pay a minimum of 20 per cent. of their rates bill, but this saving should be seen in the context of the compensation being provided under the income support scheme and reflected in housing benefit and family credit.