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Standard Local Housing Allowance

Volume 407: debated on Tuesday 24 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to introduce a cash limit on any gap between the actual rent paid by the claimant plus eligible housing benefit service charges and the proposed standard local housing allowance.[118493]

We have no plans to introduce a cash limit on any gap between the actual rents paid by tenants (plus eligible housing benefit service charges) and the standard local housing allowance.The SLHA will promote choice for tenants, allowing them to trade between the quality and price of their accommodation. We think it is fair that if someone chooses accommodation with rent lower than the standard allowance, they should be entitled to keep any extra money.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the potential impact upon the social mix of housing areas of the introduction of the standard local housing allowance (a) generally and (b) in areas of high social deprivation. [118494]

The transparency of the standard local housing allowance should enable tenants to make more informed decisions about where they live. While we cannot predict what impact this will have on the social mix of housing areas, we expect the new scheme to encourage more movement in the private rented sector as tenants decide whether to spend more on rent, or whether to increase their after-housing-costs income by renting less expensive accommodation.No one will lose out as a result of the new scheme. In addition, we expect that the simplicity of the new scheme will ease the transition into work. Both of these factors are expected to have a positive impact on reducing poverty and social deprivation.We will be evaluating the pathfinder phase very carefully to ensure that any unusual effects on the housing market are identified.