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Housing Benefit

Volume 130: debated on Thursday 31 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how many people of pensionable age in England and Wales were in receipt of housing benefit during 1987;(2) how many people of pensionable age in England and Wales were in receipt of housing benefit during 1975, 1979, 1983 and 1986.

Table A shows the number of pensioners in receipt of housing benefit in 1979, 1983, 1986 and 1987. Information for 1975 is not available, and from 1983 onwards information can be provided only for Great Britain. These figures refer to rate rebate only to avoid the risk of double-counting.Table B indicates the more detailed position of pensioners gaining or losing entitlement as a result of the April 1988 changes. These modelled figures encompass gains and losses in rate rebates, and in rate rebates or allowances.

Table A
Numbers of pensioners receiving rate rebates1
1 The figures relate to rate rebates only to avoid the risk of double counting. They understate the numbers of recipients by the very small numbers getting rent allowance or rent rebate only.
2 Figure derived from the Department of the Environment, which had policy responsibility for housing benefit until 1982, and based on a small sample for England and Wales only. This figure excludes those who then received help with rates via supplementary benefit.
3 Source: DHSS statistical enquiries, Great Britain.
4 Source: Table 15.14 to the 1988 Public Expenditure White Paper, Great Britain.
5Estimate derived from DHSS model, based on the Family Expenditure Survey, related to expected caseload in the 1988–89 fiscal year and refers to tax units in which the head or spouse is aged 60 or above.
The estimated figures for pensioners gaining or losing housing benefit (rate rebate, rent rebate and rent allowance) as a result of the social security reforms are illustrated in the following table:

Table B
a.(i)Gain from existing entitlement970
(ii)Gain from new entitlement20
b.(i)Lose some housing benefit, retain entitlement2,570
(ii)Lose all housing benefit entitlement750
c.Total on housing benefit after April 19883,560


1. Figures relate to expected claimant caseload from April 1988, taking the effect of the Budget into account.

2. Figures denote tax-units, rather than households, in which the claimant or spouse is aged 60 or above.

3. These tables include in the gains and losses those losing, or gaining less than 50p per week.