HC Deb 30 June 1982 vol 26 cc328-9W
Mr. Carter-Jones

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will explain the relationship between the current reductions for the housing contributions for non-dependants in the supplementary benefits scheme and the rent and rate rebate schemes; what changes are proposed in the new housing benefit scheme; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Rossi

At present, both the supplementary benefit and local authority rebate and allowance schemes make fixed deductions from claimants' benefits in respect of non-dependants in their household, although the rates and conditions under which deductions are made are different. We propose to bring the two schemes together using the structure of the existing local authority schemes, but adopting the standard rate of deduction in the supplementary benefit scheme. We consider the former to be the better structure and the latter to reflect the more appropriate level of deduction.

This harmonisation of the two systems will produce a complex pattern of changes.

Supplementary benefit householders, with non-dependants in their households aged 18 to 21, will benefit through lower deductions and no deduction will be taken from non-dependants aged 16 or 17 years old. But as a corollary of the decision to abolish deductions in respect of non-dependants aged 16 or 17 the supplementary benefit housing addition will be withdrawn from 16 and 17 years old non-householders.

Supplementary benefit householders with non-dependants of pensionable age will benefit through lower deductions made because of such non-dependants. The position of all other supplementary benefit householders will remain unchanged.

Many housing benefit recipients with non-dependent couples in their households will benefit because one deduction, instead of two, will be taken in future. Other housing benefit recipients—namely, those with single non-dependants aged 21 and over but below pensionable age—will have deductions made at the higher supplementary benefit level rather than at the lower levels in the existing local authority schemes.

The detailed proposals are as follows:

1982–83 rates Deduction taken from claimants receiving: Rate rebate
(i) rent rebate allowances
(ii) supplementary benefit
£ £
Non-dependant* is:
Aged 16–17 no deduction to be made
Aged 18–20 3.95 1.60
Aged 21 to pensionable age 4.70 1.85
Of pensionable age 2.20 0.90
In receipt of supplementary benefit 2.20 0.90
* non-dependent couples will count as one unit.
† for owner-occupiers with non-dependants who continue to receive help from supplementary benefit towards their housing costs.