To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what estimate he has made of (a) the annual value of housing benefit savings, (b) the proportion of this which he expects local authority social services departments to replace and (c) the number of claimants affected by the implementation of the draft Housing Benefit (General) Amendment (No. 2) Regulations 1996. 
[holding answer 24 June 1996]: The intention behind the proposed amending legislation was to confirm the policy intention, and the effect of existing housing benefit case law, regarding the extent to which housing benefit should meet service charges. This would have only clarified, rather than changed, our policy on the inclusion of service charges in the rent paid by housing benefits.In reply to a parliamentary question from the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Waterson) on 8 July,
Official Report, column 63, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State stated that he had withdrawn the proposed Housing Benefit (General) Amendment (No. 2) Regulations, pending an interdepartmental review of the funding of supported accommodation. As part of the review, we shall consider the likely effects and the numbers involved had we proceeded with the legislation.
We originally estimated that the proposal would have affected housing benefit payments in the region of £50 million to some 26,000 people.