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Housing Benefit

Volume 551: debated on Wednesday 17 October 2012

8. What assessment he has made of the potential effects of reductions in housing benefit in Wales. (122192)

Information on the expected impact in Wales and across Great Britain of our housing benefit reforms is set out in the impact assessments. We are taking urgent steps to manage housing benefit expenditure, providing a fairer and more sustainable scheme by ensuring people who receive it have to make the same choices about housing as people who do not.

Will the Minister please explain why 17-year-old Shanika Roberts, who faces being made homeless because of this Government’s cuts to housing benefit, should move in with her friend?

Some £21 billion is currently spent on housing benefit, and the figure will go up without the reforms we are putting in place. I ask the hon. Gentleman this: what is fair about 100,000 people in Wales languishing on waiting lists, often in cramped accommodation, while others live in houses with empty rooms that are larger than they need?

In view of the fact that £8.7 billion is spent on benefits in Wales every year, and nearly £1 in every £8 of that—£1 billion—is spent on housing benefit alone, is the taxpayer not entitled to expect value for money?

The taxpayer is absolutely entitled to expect value for money, and I hope that my hon. Friend will appreciate the fruits of our welfare reforms coming through in Wales, as borne out by today’s labour market statistics.