§ Mr. Chris Smith
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will estimate the cost to the Exchequer of extending housing benefit, on its present scale rates, to owner-occupiers.
§ Mr. Whitney
[pursuant to his reply, 24 January 1985, c. 521]: Owner-occupiers can already receive help with rates through the housing benefits scheme. The supplementary benefit scheme takes account of owner-occupiers' mortgage interest charges and the transfer of that help to the housing benefit scheme would not involve additional benefit costs. The estimated annual cost of extending housing benefit to the mortgage interest payments net of tax relief of other owner-occupiers on the same basis as for rent rebates would be about £100 million.
§ Mr. Gordon Brown
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has received a copy of "Families Rent Apart," published by the Child Poverty Action Group and Youthaid on the effect on families with working children living at home of the reductions in the parents' entitlement to housing benefit; if he will meet the authors of the pamphlet; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Whitney
[pursuant to his reply, 29 January 1985, c. 166]: I regret that my previous answer was incorrect. My right hon. Friend has received a copy of "Families Rent Apart" and the Child Poverty Action Group has recently sent me a further copy. We shall be studying this report with interest.