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Council Tax Benefit

Volume 527: debated on Wednesday 11 May 2011

1. What discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and the Welsh Assembly Government on proposals to transfer responsibility for council tax benefit to local authorities. (54352)

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I have had discussions with Cabinet colleagues and Welsh Assembly Government Ministers on a range of issues, including welfare reform.

As the Minister may know, there is a great deal of concern that people in Wales will struggle to get council tax benefit if the Welsh Assembly refuses to devolve the benefit to local authorities in Wales, as the Government are doing in England. Will he work with the Welsh Assembly Government and the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure that council tax benefit is devolved to either all local authorities across the UK or none?

Localisation of council tax benefit is part of the wider package of reform set out in the Welfare Reform Bill, which will ensure that work always pays. We are indeed committed to full consultation with the Welsh Assembly Government on the devolved implications of the reforms. The Assembly Government will no doubt wish to consult when they have developed their own policy options, but ultimately it is for them to decide how the delivery arrangements are put in place in Wales.