HC Deb 19 January 1993 vol 217 cc209-10W
Mr. Hendry

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what information he has on the time taken by local authorities to process housing benefit applications from council and privately renting tenants; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Burt

Regulations provide that authorities should process claims to housing benefit within 14 days of all the necessary information becoming available. If authorities are unable to do this they should make interim payments. Many authorities achieve the target in full. Nationally, in 1991–92, 71 per cent. of new claims from council tenants and 70 per cent. of claims from private tenants were processed within 14 days. For repeat claims the percentages were 83 per cent. and 73 per cent. respectively. All figures are an improvement on the overall figure of two thirds of claims processed within 14 days achieved in 1990–91.

Ms. Coffey

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the level of housing benefit to the private sector in(a) 1990–91, (b) 1991–92 and (c) to date in the current year; and what was the average level of benefit in (i) the private sector, (ii) the council sector and (iii) the housing association sector.

Mr. Burt

The available information is set out in the table:

Amount of rent allowance paid or estimated (£ thousand) Rent allowance Average amount (£/week) of rent rebate
1990–91 1,757,071 25.45 19.80
1991–92 2,353,942 32.57 22.76
1992–93 2,883,389 39.02 26.73
1 2

Notes: Separate information in respect of Housing Associations is not available.

Rent allowance is Housing Benefit paid to the private sector and includes that paid to the housing association sector.

Rent rebate is Housing Benefit paid to the council sector.


  1. (1) Local Authority Housing Benefit and Community Charge Benefit subsidy claim forms.
  2. (2) 1990 and 1991, the Housing Benefit and Community Charge Benefit Management Information System statistics annual 1 per cent sample, taken in May of each year, for 1992 the quarterly caseload enquiry, as at August 1992.

Mr. Luff

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will announce how housing benefit transitional payments will be treated in April.

Mr. Burt

We have always made it clear that housing benefit transitional payments which were introduced in 1988 will be reduced as increases in other benefits make them less necessary. We have, therefore, decided on a flat rate reduction of £1.50 per week in these payments for the year from April 1993. As a result, the vast majority of recipients will still gain overall in cash terms from the April uprating of other social security benefits.