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Council Tax Benefits

Volume 503: debated on Monday 11 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what discussions her Department has had with local authorities on proposals to rename council tax benefit as council tax rebate; (308712)

(2) what work her Department has undertaken to assess the merits of renaming council tax benefit as council tax rebate; and if she will make a statement;

(3) when she expects the renaming of council tax benefit as council tax rebate to take place; and if she will make a statement.

We are committed to making this change at the earliest opportunity. This change does have significant operational and delivery implications for local authorities. There will need to be numerous changes to their computer systems and to those used by Jobcentre Plus and Pension, Disability and Carers Service. Before we can be clear about the timetable for introducing the change we need to do further work to assess the full costs and the practical implications, including the impact it will have on take-up by conducting further research.

We have been and will continue to work closely with local authorities and their IT suppliers to assess the impact and costs of these changes and the fit with other initiatives the Department and local authorities have to deliver, so that renaming can be introduced at the earliest opportunity.