§ Mrs. Rumbold
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps he has taken to rectify the discrepancies arising in the joint administration of unified housing benefit by his Department and local authorities.
§ Mr. Whitney
An independent review of the housing benefit scheme has been set up with the improvement of the scheme's administration as one of its main objectives. However it has always been recognised that close cooperation and mutual understanding between local authorities and DHSS local offices is essential to the smooth running of the scheme. To encourage this a circular was issued earlier this year stressing the need for close local liaison and clarifying and underlining points that were causing difficulty. A copy of the circular (HB (84)2: Local Authority and Local Office Liaison) is available in the Library.