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Housing Benefit

Volume 506: debated on Friday 5 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of claimants of local housing allowance make an additional payment to cover the difference between benefit received and rent paid; and what estimate she has made of the average weekly payment made by such claimants in the latest period for which figures are available. (318637)

In August 2009, 48 per cent. of customers who received housing benefit under the local housing allowance arrangements had a shortfall of £23 per week on average. This relates to shortfalls caused by a customer's contractual rent being higher than the appropriate local housing allowance rate.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of those in receipt of housing benefit in the private rented sector, excluding those in receipt of local housing allowance, have their benefit paid to (a) their landlord and (b) themselves. (318813)

The information is not available in the format requested and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of those in receipt of local housing allowance have their benefit paid to (a) their landlord and (b) themselves. (318815)

The local housing allowance, rolled out from 7 April 2008, uses the appropriate local housing allowance rate, based on the area where the person lives and the size of their household, to determine the maximum amount to be included in the housing benefit calculation. Customers can choose to rent properties with rents below the local housing allowance rate and are able to keep the excess benefit up to a maximum of £15 per week. If the rent is higher than the local housing allowance rate they must make up the difference from other sources of income.

In August 2009, 25 per cent of customers who received housing benefit under the local housing allowance arrangements had their benefit paid to their landlord and 72 per cent had their benefit paid to themselves. For 3 per cent. of customers the payment destination information is not reliably reported.