§ 4 and 7. Mr. Higgins
asked the Minister of Social Security (1) whether tenants in furnished accommodation on National Assistance, whose rents are increased as a result of a rent tribunal decision, are normally paid an additional sum to cover the increase; and to what extent they are instructed to find other, less expensive, accommodation;
4 (2) whether tenants in unfurnished accommodation on National Assistance, whose rents are increased as a result of the decision of a rent officer or a rent assessment committee, are normally paid an additional sum to cover the increase; and to what extent they are instructed to find other, less expensive, accommodation.
§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Social Security (Mr. Norman Pentland)
A rent increase of this kind will be met in full unless it would be unreasonable to do so, for example, where the accommodation is excessive for the person's requirements or there is somebody sharing it who could reasonably be expected to make a contribution.
§ Mr. Higgins
Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied that people on National Assistance are not being asked to look for other accommodation which is cheaper, when this is not in fact available locally?
§ Mr. Pentland
The National Assistance Board has never instructed any recipient of assistance to seek alternative accommodation, as is implied in the hon. Gentleman's Question. All aspects of rent increases are taken into account by the National Assistance Board in the past, and in the future by the new Commission.
§ Mr. Lipton
Does my hon. Friend's Department keep statistics to show to what extent rents are being paid out of National Assistance supplementary grants? Up to now it has been quite impossible to find out exactly how much the Government are paying out in respect of increasing rents from year to year.
§ Mr. Pentland
At the end of 1965 only 1.1 per cent. of cases—that is, 18,000 out of 1,604,000 householders—did not have their rent met in full.