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Housing Benefit

Volume 408: debated on Thursday 3 July 2003

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On behalf of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions I am announcing the publication of the 2002–03 fourth quarter's performance statistics for local authority administration of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (HB and CTB). A copy of the quarterly statistics for all local authorities in Great Britain has been placed in the Library and has been published on the Department for Work and Pensions website at http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/others_stats.htmlPublishing these statistics is part of our strategy for reforming housing benefit. It is right and proper that the public see how well or how badly their council is doing. We are using these statistics to challenge poor performance and to celebrate improvements.Statistics for the fourth quarter of 2002–03 show that across the country performance has improved with processing of new claims dropping from an average of eight and a half weeks between April and June to seven weeks between January and March.Improvements have also been seen in the number of local authorities performing at and exceeding the performance standard for the processing of new claims and changes in circumstances.The statistics are un-audited and are provided quarterly by local authorities to my Department.The latest annual audited best value performance information for English local authorities is for 2001–02 and was published by my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister on 12 December 2002 on the Best Value Performance Indicators website at:

http://www.bvpi.gov.uk/home.asp. A copy has been placed in the Library.

The most recent corresponding data for local authorities in Wales are for 2001–02. These are published on the Audit Commission website at http://ww2.audit-commission.gov.uk/pis/pi_data_01.shtml. A paper copy of the relevant extract from this site has been placed in the Library.

The most recent corresponding data for local authorities in Scotland are for 2001–02 and are in the Accounts Commission publication "Performance Indicators 2001–02: "Benefits, Finance and Corporate Issues", a copy of which has been placed in the Library.