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Housing Benefit

Volume 458: debated on Monday 26 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) which local authorities he has consulted on his plans to change the housing benefit subsidy for homeless households in temporary accommodation; (126485)

(2) if he will publish the responses to his consultation on his plans to change the housing benefit subsidy for homeless households in temporary accommodation;

(3) if he will place in the Library a copy of his consultation paper on his plans to change the housing benefit subsidy for homeless households in temporary accommodation.

Consultation on any aspect of housing benefit (HB) is not undertaken with individual local authorities but via their representative associations—the Local Government Association, the Association of London Councils, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and the Welsh Local Government Association.

The large increase in HB expenditure in temporary accommodation was first discussed at a meeting with the Local Authority Associations in August 2006 and there were further discussions with representatives of the associations in November and December 2006 and January 2007.

Three DWP discussion papers were issued and both verbal and written responses were received from the representative associations. Copies of the discussion papers have been placed in the Library and will be published on the DWP website. Subject to third party approval, which we are in the process of obtaining, copies of responses will also be placed in the House of Commons Library and on the DWP website as soon as possible.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost was of non-housing revenue account expenditure on homeless households in temporary accommodation in each year since 2002-03. (126488)

The available information is in the following tables.

Non-housing revenue account expenditure on homeless households in temporary accommodation (nominal terms)

£ million

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Estimated GB temporary housing expenditure

307

374

501

599

Subsidised

244

308

456

551

Unsubsidised

62

66

45

48

Non-housing revenue account expenditure on homeless households in temporary accommodation (real terms 2006-07 prices)

£ million

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Estimated GB temporary Housing expenditure

339

402

524

615

Subsidised

271

331

477

566

Unsubsidised

69

71

47

49

Notes:

1. Expenditure data is taken from local authorities’ subsidy returns.

2. All figures are final audited data with the exception of 2005-06 which is provisional (pre-audited) data.

3. GDP deflator is the latest available as at 5 pm on 12 March 2007, last updated 21 December 2006, and is taken from www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/economic_data_and_tools/gdp_deflators/data_gdp_fig_cfm

4. Due to historical differences in the treatment of Scottish rent rebate expenditure, it is not possible from local authority subsidy returns to identify all expenditure on temporary accommodation in Scotland. These figures may therefore slightly understate temporary accommodation expenditure. From an assessment of the England and Wales data, we estimate that this understatement would be of the order of £1-2 million.