HC Deb 02 April 1987 vol 113 cc623-4W
Mr. Radice

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the weekly amounts of standard housing benefit currently payable (assuming a grant-aided period of 38 weeks) to a single grant-aided student without dependants or disability, aged under 25, studying on an advanced course at a London college and living in privately rented accommodation by way of (i) rent allowance for eligible rents of £18, £20, £22, £24, £26, £28 and £30 per week; and (ii) rate rebate (assuming the student's eligible rent to exceed £17.70 per week) for eligible rates of £2.50, £3, £4 and £5 per week; and what will be the weekly amounts of benefit payable to the same student in the same circumstances under the housing benefit scheme to be introduced under the Social Security Act 1986 on the basis that the tapers for rent allowance and rate rebate will be 60 per cent. and 20 per cent., respectively, that 20 per cent. of rates will be ineligible for benefit and upon the assumption that the basic level of income support for a claimant aged under 25 will be £25 per week; and if he will present the above information in tabulated form so as to show losses or gains as between comparable claims under the present and intended new systems.

Mr. Lyell

[pursuant to his reply, 11 March 1987, c. 237–38]: The information requested using the assumptions specified and the proposed structure of the reformed housing benefit scheme is shown in the tables.

Under the current scheme local authorities compare student income with housing benefit needs allowances and apply a complicated structure of tapers. The needs allowances do not fully reflect the structure of supplementary benefit rates contributing to the inequities and complications of the present arrangements

The basis of the calculations in the reformed structure is a comparison between the student's grant income, for the 38-week academic year, and the assumed income support rate for single people aged 18 to 24. The weekly income of a student in London on the basis of the standard grant payable during the 1986–87 academic year is £33.72 after taking account of the amount allowed in the grant for expenses for accommodation, books and travel. The decreases in student entitlement to housing benefit, shown in the tables, arise from the application of the rent and!rate tapers specified in the question to the amount by which this income exceeds the assumed income support rate of £25 per week. However, the precise level of benefit payable under the reformed scheme will vary depending on the detailed regulations, which have yet to be made, and the rates of benefit which will not be decided until the autumn. The whole system of student support, including benefits, is being looked at in the present review. We are considering how to compensate students in order to achieve our aim of removing them from the benefit system.

Rent level


Current scheme entitlement


New scheme entitlement1




A. Rent allowances
18.00 0.30 nil 0.30
20.00 2.30 nil 2.30
22.00 4.25 nil 4.25
24.00 5.45 1.07 4.38
26.00 6.65 3.07 3.58
28.00 7.85 5.07 2.78
30.00 9.05 7.07 1.98
Rate level
B. Rate rebates
2.50 2.04 nil 2.04
3.00 2.34 0.66 1.68
4.00 2.94 1.46 1.48
500 3.54 2.26 1.28
1 Based on illustrative assumptions.


(1) Both current and new scheme figures have been calculated on the basis of the standard grant of £2,246 per annum which is payable during the 1986–87 academic year to a London student living away from home. Of this grant, £17.70 a week is deducted from the student's rent in assessing housing benefit.

(2) For the new scheme calculations, £292 of the grant has been disregarded to reflect disregards on travel costs and hooks and equipment which do not apply at present.

(3) For the new scheme a minimum payment of 50p has been assumed.

(4) Other illustrative assumptions used are those quoted in the question.

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