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Standard Housing Allowance

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 22 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the impact on work incentives of the pilot standard housing allowance. (117575)

Evidence from the pathfinder local housing allowance evaluation to date suggests that claimants who are paid their benefit directly are more likely to report that they are looking for work, and the proportion of claimants paid directly has increased from 50 per cent. to 84 per cent. Increased financial inclusion can improve work readiness and 91 per cent. of tenants have a bank or building society account, with around a quarter of claimants saying that they opened an account because of the local housing allowance. Additionally, the transparency of the local housing allowance is reported to make discussions about work between advisers and claimants easier. Some of these effects of the local housing allowance, such as increased financial inclusion, will take time to impact on claimant behaviour.

The final evaluation reports are scheduled to be published in the summer.