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Housing Benefit

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 29 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was allocated to each (a) London local authority and (b) region of the UK under the discretionary payment scheme in each of the last five years; and what proportion of funding allocated was used in each case. (200824)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidance (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have issued on the maximum distance a tenant in receipt of housing benefit in the private rented sector may be required to move as a result of the introduction of local housing allowance and the use of broad rental market areas as a basis for calculating allowance levels. (201225)

Where a customer chooses to live is entirely a matter for the individual and their family, therefore the Department for Work and Pensions or its agencies have not issued any guidance on the maximum distance a tenant in receipt of housing benefit in the private rented sector may be required to move.

The aim of the Local Housing Allowance is to give customers a choice as to whether to rent accommodation cheaper than their Local Housing Allowance rate and keep the excess (£15 a week maximum) or be able to rent a more expensive property and pay additional rent from their own income.

Local Housing Allowance rates are set by rent officers at the median level within each Broad Rental Market Area. This means that exactly half of the rental properties within any Broad Rental Market are affordable to people claiming housing benefit.