§ Ms. Armstrong
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement about the proposed operation and role of the housing benefit scheme when the new social fund regulations come into effect in April 1988.
§ Mr. Portillo
For information on the operation and role of the housing benefit scheme, I refer the hon. Member to 753W the speech of my hon. Friend the Minister for Social Security and the Disabled during the debate in the House on the Housing Benefit regulations on 19 November at columns 1241–50. In general the reformed housing benefit scheme will not be affected by the operation of the social fund. Housing benefit will continue to be a passport to social fund funeral payments and local authorities will therefore be asked to confirm in a small percentage of cases that housing benefit is in payment.