HC Deb 06 July 1988 vol 136 cc618-9W
Mr. Doran

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his latest estimate of the number of housing benefit claimants who have lost as a result of recent changes in housing benefit rules; and what estimate he has of the average level of loss in each of the constituencies of Hendon, South, Mid-Worcestershire, Lancashire, West, Fylde, Staffordshire, Moorlands, and Amber Valley.

Mr. Portillo

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Derby, South (Mrs. Beckett) on 7 June 1988, at column561, for an answer to the first part of his question. I regret that detailed information about the effects of housing benefit changes in individual constituencies is not available.

Mr. Frank Field

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement concerning his Department's response to the decision of the Birkenhead SSAT on 10 June concerning housing benefit supplement and transitional protection.

Mr. Portillo

A decision by a social security appeals tribunal represents the first stage in the appeals procedure under the independent adjudication system. I understand that the chief adjudication officer has now received the tribunal's written decision and has applied to the tribunal chairman for leave to appeal to a commissioner.

Mr. Bowis

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services how many claimants on income support will be covered by the housing benefit transitional payments scheme.

Mr. Portillo

Most claimants on income support will not need a housing benefit transitional payment, because they will be entitled to maximum housing benefit from 1 April and help towards their new 20 per cent. rates payment is provided for in income support. Moreover, transitional protection was built into the change from supplementary benefit to income support. There will, however, be a small number of income support recipients in the vulnerable groups who will qualify for a payment under the criteria announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 27 April. These will generally be households affected by the detailed changes in the rules governing the treatment of non-dependant deductions, and service or amenity charges.

Mr. Winnick

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the operation of the payment of transitional benefit relating to the loss of housing benefit.

Mr. Portillo

The transitional payments unit in Glasgow has started to receive applications for transitional payments and we expect the unit to become fully operational this month.

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