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Social Security Benefits: Travelling People

Volume 508: debated on Monday 22 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether (a) council tax and (b) housing benefit may be awarded to Travellers occupying camps without planning permission. (323443)

Council tax benefit is available to anyone who is liable for council tax.

Where a Traveller’s caravan occupies a non-established site or pitch for a period materially less than 12 months, with no sign of likely future use, this will generally be regarded as too transient to establish the pitch as a dwelling. For established sites or pitches, even if the occupier changes often, a banding will apply and a liability to council tax will exist.

It is established rating law, applicable to council tax that a transitory occupation of land does not amount to rateable occupation. Whether the necessary permanence of occupation has been established for liability to arise will depend on the facts in each case.

On the subject of housing benefit I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave him on 8 March 2010, Official Report, column 75W.