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Housing Benefit

Volume 202: debated on Tuesday 21 January 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many housing benefit applications were determined by each local authority in the London area in the last year for which data is available.

The information available is in the table.

AuthorityTotal Claims April 1988–March 1989Total Claims April 1989–March 1990Total Claims April 1990–March 1991
City of London
Camden31,45232,28342,688
Greenwich
Hackney
Hammersmith21,488
Islington40,59730,544
Kensington & Chelsea23,427
Lambeth
Lewisham
Southwark53,588
Tower Hamlets34,66438,462
Wandsworth
Westminster41,49224,508
Barking30,12636,17229,466
Barnet48,52824,241
Bexley17,799
Brent24,200
Bromley18,632
Croydon
Ealing62,68040,98239,131
Enfield15,89027,24314,018
Haringey12,960
Harrow14,23917,0319,178
Havering21,36616,79221,330
Hillingdon39,08918,60119,887
Hounslow32,07547,05829,358
Kingston19,40622,56312,180
Merton15,182

Authority

Total Claims April 1988–March 1989

Total Claims April 1989–March 1990

Total Claims April 1990–March 1991

Newham
Redbridge25,032
Richmond
Sutton15,31115,7518,918
Waltham Forest35,78636,91631,496

Notes:

a. Figures for 1988–89 and 1989–90 relate to claims for rent rebates, rent allowances and/or rate rebates.

b. Figures for 1990–91 relate to claims for rent rebate and rent allowance only, following the introduction of community charge.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what information is collected from local authorities on their performance in housing benefit management.

The housing benefit management information system collects key data on the number of claims processed within 14 days of receipt of all information necessary to assess the claim together with the number of review board hearings held within six weeks of request. Quarterly information on the number of outstanding claims will become available later this year. The returns also give other information which helps monitor performance. Full details are in circular HB/CCB (91)2 which is available in the Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what guidance is given to local authorities on the acceptable time in which to determine a housing benefit application.

Full statutory responsibility for the administration of the housing benefit scheme rests with local authorities which are required to ensure that the system is working effectively and in accordance with the rules of the scheme. Regulations prescribe that claims should be processed within 14 days of receipt of all the

(a) Claimant 16–17 Years
Income Support LevelIncome
£££££££££££££££
23.9033.9043.9053.9063.9073.9083.9093.90103.90113.90123.90133.90143.90153.90
Housing Benefit Entitlement
Rent
303030.0025.1318.6312.135.63NilNilNilNilNilNilNilNil
Rent
5050500045.1338.6332.1325.6319.1312.636.13NilNilNilNilNil
Rent
100100100.0095.1388.6382.1375.6369.1362.6356.1349.6343.1336.6330.1323.63
Rent
150150150.00145.13138.63132.13125.63119.13112.63106.1399.6393.1386.6380.1373.63
(b) Claimant 18–24 Years
Income Support LevelIncome
££££££££££££££
31.4041.4051.4061.4071.4081.4091.40101.40111.40121.40131.40141.40151.40
Housing Benefit Entitlement
Rent 303026.7520.2513.7572.50.75NilNilNilNilNilNilNil
necessary information, or as soon as possible thereafter. Where, through no fault of the applicant, a claim cannot be settled within 14 days, interim payments should be made. Guidance issued to local authorities by the Department reflects those provisions.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what information he has on (a) the proportion of all claims for housing benefit which have been processed within 14 days, (b) the proportion of local authorities meeting claims for housing benefit within 14 days and (c) the extent to which where local authorities do not meet this target they make interim payments.

Information on the processing of housing benefit claims to local authorities in 1990–91 is not yet available. However, data are available for approximately two-thirds of authorities for the year 1989–90. In that year about two-thirds of claims were processed within 14 days. Over 90 per cent. of authorities processed at least some claims within 14 days, and over 10 per cent. processed all claims within 14 days. Information on the provision of interim payments is not collected by the Department.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will give the housing benefit entitlement of a single person, living alone, whose sole income is what is currently available to a person on income support (a) for the ages of 16 and 17 years, (b) between the ages of 18 and 24 years and (c) between the age of 25 years and retirement age, where the private rented sector rent has been assessed as a reasonable market rent for housing benefit subsidy purposes as £30, £50, £100, and £150 per week, and the amount of housing benefit available as income rises by each £10 per week above income support level, up to £150 per week.

Income Support Level

Income

££££££££££££££
505046.7540.2533.7527.25207514.257.751.25NilNilNilNil
Rent
10010096.7590.2583.7577.2570.7564.2557.7551.2544.7538.2531.7525.25
Rent
150150146.75140.25133.75127.25120.75114.25107.75101.2594.7588.2581.7575.25

(c) Claimant 25–60 Years

Income Support Level

Income

£££££££££££££
39.6549.6559.6569.6579.6589.6599.65109.65119.65129.65139.65149.65

Housing Benefit Entitlement

Rent
303026.7520.2513.757.250.75NilNilNilNilNilNil
Rent
505046.7540.25337527.2520.7514.257-751.25NilNilNil
Rent
100100967590.2583.7577.2570.7564.2557.7551.2544.7538.2531.75
Rent
150150146.75140.25133.75127.25120.75114.25107.75101.2594.7588.2581.75

Notes:

1. 16–17–year-olds who have no choice but to live independently receive the higher income support rate appropriate to 18–24–year-olds.

2. The calculations assume that the claimant is not entitled to any premiums.

3. The amount of housing benefit quoted for each level of rent assumes that the rent is fully eligible for Housing Benefit.

4. All calculations are based on the assumption that the income referred to is earnings, to which a disregard of £5 is appropriate.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his latest estimate of the number of households claiming housing benefit whose payments are restricted by the local authority on the basis of a decision that the rent is unreasonably high, or the accommodation is considered too large.

The available information for 1989–90 suggests that there were between 15,000 and 30,000 housing benefit cases in Great Britain where benefit was restricted because the rent was considered unreasonably high. The number of cases where the accommodation is considered too large is not collected.

Source: Housing benefit management information system.