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Housing Benefit

Volume 450: debated on Monday 16 October 2006

13. To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people receiving housing benefit face benefit withdrawal rates of more than 40 per cent. against marginal income. (93410)

Half a million working age housing benefit recipients have marginal deduction rates in excess of 40 per cent. and 400,000 in receipt of pensioner income.

As my hon. Friend will be aware, tapers are part of the system in order to smooth the effects of moving into employment, and to concentrate support on those in greatest need.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how much has been lost in housing benefit (a) fraud and (b) error in the local housing allowance pilot areas since their introduction; (90401)

(2) what assessment he has made of the effect of the introduction of the local housing allowance on housing benefit fraud.

Information regarding the amount lost in housing benefit fraud and error is not available below national level. Our latest estimates of fraud and error in housing benefit are published in “Fraud and Error in Housing Benefit April 2002 to September 2005”, which is available in the Library.

The Department commissioned an independent evaluation of the local housing allowance within the pathfinder areas. This included qualitative data gathered from local authority fraud staff. The evaluation has concluded that the local housing allowance has not resulted in significant levels of new types of fraud or higher levels of fraud more generally. Furthermore, there are indications that fraudulent activity by some landlords may have been reduced.