HL Deb 18 December 1991 vol 533 cc53-4WA
The Countess of Mar

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How they reconcile the reduction in subsidy from 95 per cent. to 25 per cent., for rent increases which result from local authorities improving their housing stock, with the specific encouragement given by the Department of the Environment to refurbish properties under schemes such as Estate Action and City Challenge and to target improvements such as heating and security to those tenants most in need, and with the Citizen's Charter.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Social Security Lord Henley

Full housing benefit subsidy is payable to a local authority on general rent increases when the average rent increase of rebated tenants does not exceed that of unrebated tenants. However, in order to safeguard public funds, full subsidy is not paid when an authority increases disproportionately the rents of tenants who receive rebate.

Rent increases arising out of improvement schemes need not of themselves trigger the disproportionate rent increase rule. Where, however, disproportionate increases do occur, reduced (rather than nil) subsidy is payable. This is calculated at 25 per cent. in Scotland. In England and Wales a broadly similar level of support is calculated as part of an annual cash-limited sum which is fed into Housing Revenue Account subsidy. We believe that these arrangements provide an adequate level of financial tolerance within which authorities can make decisions on improving their housing stock.