HC Deb 19 February 1992 vol 204 cc219-20W
Mr. Allen

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what changes have been made to the benefit system since 1979 to encourage those on benefit to enter education while still looking for work.

Housing benefit—Great Britain (Rent rebates and allowances)
(i) LA tenants (ii)&(iii) Private and Housing Association tenants
(a) Pensioner (b) Family (c) Other (a) Pensioner (b) Family (c) Other
1. Maximum benefit 752,000 565,000 406,000 221,00 110,000 253,000
2. Maximum with Non-dependant deduction 104,000 31,000 67,000 15,000 5,000 8,000
3. Other Lesser amount 819,000 72,000 143,000 178,000 11,000 152,000

56 per cent. of local authority tenants receive Housing Benefit, of which 32 per cent. are pensioners, 13 per cent. are families and 12 per cent other.

42 per cent. of private and housing association tenants receive Housing Benefit, of which 18 per cent. are pensioners, 5 per cent. families and 18 per cent other.


(i) Estimates of regional figures are unreliable.

(ii) May 1991 and current information is not available.

(iii) Rate rebate cases are excluded.

Source: Housing Benefit Management Information System.

Sir David Steel

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether optional tenant improvements added to local authority or housing association rents in Scotland qualify for assessment in eligibility for housing benefit.

Miss Widdecombe

Housing benefit is intended to meet reasonable accommodation costs. Broadly this means rent and any compulsory service charges which are clearly related to the provision of adequate accommodation. A rent increase may be met by housing benefit if local

Miss Widdecombe

In 1979 the concession—known as the 21-hour rule—which enabled unemployed people under 21 years of age to receive supplementary benefit while studying part-time was extended to those over 21 who had been unemployed for a year or more. In 1982, the qualifying period of unemployment was reduced from 12 to three months and periods of participation in the youth training scheme became eligible to be counted towards entitlement to supplementary benefit under this rule. These changes were carried through to the income support scheme which replaced supplementary benefit in 1988.