§ Mr. Gareth Wardell
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will take steps to ensure that local authority social services departments pay the rent of young persons being helped by the local authority under the terms of section 17 or section 20 of the Children Act 1989.
§ Mr. Bowis
Young persons may be entitled to housing benefit if they have a legal liability to pay rent. Section 17 of the Children Act is about the provision of services for children in need, their families and others by local authorities, and does not have a bearing on the liability of a young person to pay rent. Section 20 of the Children Act sets out the duties and powers of local authorities to provide accommodation for those children or young persons in need who require it. The Departments of Health and of Social Security are jointly considering going out to consultation on guidance to clarify the responsibilities of local authority social services departments and the benefit position when a young person is helped by an authority under the Children Act.115W