HC Deb 20 October 1994 vol 248 cc321-2W
Mr. Bradley

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many prisoners are currently in receipt of housing benefit; and what is the cost of this as a proportion of(a) the overall housing benefit budget and (b) the overall social security budget;

(2) if he will give figures, in real cash terms, of the predicted savings his Department will make as a result of reducing prisoners' entitlement to housing benefit from 52 weeks to 13 weeks;

(3) how many prisoners over the last five-year period for which figures are available have had their entitlement to housing benefit renewed for a further 52 weeks following a home visit.

Mr. Roger Evans

No information is collected on the amount of housing benefit paid to prisoners, the number of prisoners in receipt of housing benefit, or the impact of home visits on prisoners' benefit. However, we estimate that there could be up to 10,000 single prisoners in receipt of housing benefit in any one year at a cost of up to £10 million.

This represents up to 0.1 per cent. of the housing benefit budget, and up to 0.01 per cent. of the total social security budget. The majority of this cost is expected to be recouped through reducing prisoners' benefit entitlement to 13 weeks.

Source: Prison Statistics England and Wales 1991 CM. 2157