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Housing Benefit

Volume 502: debated on Monday 14 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate she has made of the cost to landlords of the introduction of direct payment of local housing allowance in (a) 2009-10 and (b) each of the subsequent five years. (304643)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many claimants in each broad market rental area receive local housing allowance in excess of (a) £385 and (b) £965 per week. (305850)

[holding answer 10 December 2009]: Local housing allowance information is not available at broad market rental area level.

There are fewer than 100 people getting housing benefit of £1,000 or more under the local housing allowance arrangements—that represents just 0.01 per cent. of the total local housing allowance caseload.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was paid in housing benefit on average to each recipient in each region in each of the last five years. (306519)

The most recent available information is in the tables.

Average weekly amount of housing benefit by Government office region: August 2005 to August 2007

£

2005

2006

2007

Great Britain

63.64

67.47

71.44

North East

49.98

52.40

55.76

North West

55.38

57.98

61.48

Yorkshire and the Humber

50.82

53.51

56.40

East Midlands

51.93

56.95

58.35

West Midlands

55.84

58.85

63.12

East

63.35

67.18

70.98

London

97.10

103.62

109.15

South East

72.74

76.34

79.93

South West

62.18

65.51

69.30

Wales

53.53

56.15

59.90

Scotland

48.56

51.88

56.11

Average weekly amount of housing benefit by Government office region: November 2008 to August 2009

£

2008

2009

Great Britain

76.79

81.41

North East

60.82

65.21

North West

66.66

70.90

Yorkshire and the Humber

61.11

64.75

East Midlands

63.52

67.34

West Midlands

68.40

71.87

East

76.28

81.17

London

116.59

123.68

South East

85.49

90.72

South West

74.34

78.73

Wales

64.37

68.50

Scotland

59.70

62.69

Notes: 1. The data refer to benefit units, which may be a single person or a couple. 2. The figures have been rounded to the nearest penny. Source: Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Management Information System Quarterly 100 per cent. taken in August 2005, August 2006, August 2007. Single Housing Benefit Extract (SHBE) taken in November 2008 and August 2009.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discretion local authorities have to make direct payments to landlords through housing-related benefits. (304229)

Under the local housing allowance rules for calculating housing benefit, local authorities may pay housing benefit directly to landlords in the following circumstances:

when they consider that the tenant is unlikely to pay their rent; or

when they consider that the tenant is likely to have difficulty in managing their financial affairs; or

when payments have previously been made in the same award directly to the landlord because the tenant was in 8 or more weeks of arrears of rent; or

as a one-off payment where the tenant has moved leaving arrears of rent.

For housing benefit claims that are not assessed and paid under the local housing allowance rules, there are circumstances when the local authority may consider paying landlords directly:

as a one-off payment of arrears when a customer has left an address leaving arrears of rent;

at the customer’s request or with his consent; or

without the customer’s consent if it is in the interest of the customer and their family.

Where a customer has accrued rent arrears of eight weeks or more payment of housing benefit must be paid direct to the landlord.