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Housing Benefit And Antisocial Behaviour

Volume 405: debated on Tuesday 20 May 2003

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The Government sympathise with those who question whether it is right for the State to support the housing costs of people whose behaviour brings misery to the lives of individuals and communities. The Government strongly believe in the principle of a welfare state based on rights and responsibilities. The rights we gain from civil society—including the right to financial support when we need it—should be balanced by our duty to behave responsibly towards our fellow citizens.A Housing Benefit sanction could provide a workable measure that will act as a deterrent and can be applied swiftly and fairly in response to such behaviour.We are aware that for any system of sanctions to be workable and effective it must draw on the experience of local authorities, landlords, and other agencies supporting local communities' efforts to address antisocial behaviour and local people themselves. I am therefore today writing to local authorities and other bodies to consult them on proposals to use Housing Benefit sanctions to tackle antisocial behaviour.Copies of the consultation paper will be placed in the Library. We will also be consulting directly with the victims of this objectionable behaviour.