§ Mr. Gordon Brown
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish a table using his department's low incomes families 1983 tables showing how many people fell below supplementary benefit level, were on supplementary benefit or 140 per cent. of supplementary benefit level, analysed according to both economic and family status together at the latest available date.
§ Mr. Major
[pursuant to the reply, 2 December 1986, c. 615]: The information requested is shown in the tables. The assumptions used are the same as those published in the 1983 low income tables:
(3) if he proposes to increase the proportion of the cost of the housing benefit scheme met by local authorities; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Lyell
[pursuant to his reply, 4 December 1986, c. 731]: An estimated 7.15 million householders were receiving housing benefit in autumn 1985. The latest 129W estimates of the cost of benefit payments and the scheme's administration are £5 billion and £168 million, respectively, for the current financial year.
Local authorities are reimbursed in full for their expenditure on certificated benefit and for 90 per cent. of their expenditure on payments of standard benefit by direct Exchequer subsidy and for a fixed proportion (set at 60 per cent., 65 per cent. and 70 per cent. for authorities in England, Scotland and Wales respectively) of their administration costs through specific grant within the rate support grant arrangements. Residual expenditure on benefits and administration is taken into account when authorities' entitlement to block grant is calculated.
The Government propose to change the arrangements for subsidising local authorities' expenditure under the reformed housing benefits scheme from April 1988 to provide more incentives for authorities to control costs as well as a fair level of support for expenditure which they may properly incur. The detailed arrangements are currently under discussion with the local authority associations.