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Council Tax Benefit

Volume 406: debated on Monday 9 June 2003

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To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate he has made of the cost to (a) central and (b) local government of administering council tax benefit in 2002–03; and if he will make a statement. [109532]

I have been asked to reply.This Department subsidises local authorities for the administration of council tax benefit (CTB) and housing benefit (HB). In 2001–02 this amounted to £161 million and in 2002–03 it was £170 million. This sum is matched by Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the National Assembly for Wales and the Scottish Executive through the general funds that they distribute to local authorities. Of our allocation, in 2001–02 £74.2 million was specified for use in CTB administration, a similar amount was supplied by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the National Assembly for Wales and the Scottish Executive. However, the formulae used to split funds between HB and CTB by these administrations are slightly different, therefore the exact amounts may vary. In 2002–03 £78.5 million was specified by DWP for use in CTB administration.For 2001–02, in addition to the £161 million, we distributed a further £5.5 million for policy and budget changes and £7.5 million to implement new appeals procedures. These figures were not broken down into separate amounts for CTB and HB. This corrects the information given in my written reply on 8 April 2003,

Official Report, column 228–9W.

For 2002–03 the Department distributed an additional £6 million to local authorities to help them meet set-up costs relating to the new tax credits, and £15 million for set-up costs relating to the Pension Credit. These extra allocations were made to meet the costs of administering both HB and CTB and a separate breakdown for CTB is not available.

From this year, administration subsidy for both HB and CTB is funded entirely by this Department as one direct grant to local authorities.

Reported expenditure by local authorities on Council Tax Benefit administration is not yet available for 2002–03.

Notes:

  • Figures have been rounded to the nearest £100,000.
  • Sources:

  • 1. DSS and DWP HB/CTB Subsidy circulars to local authorities (S6/2001, S8/2001, S2/2002 and S5/2002). Social Security Income Related Benefits (Subsidy to Authorities) Amendment Order 2001.
  • 2. Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
  • 3. The National Assembly for Wales.
  • 4. The Scottish Executive.