HL Deb 01 July 1997 vol 581 cc14-5WA
Earl Russell

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are the local reference rents used for the calculation of housing benefit, and whether they will make these details available to the general public.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham)

The local reference rent is determined on a case by case basis by independent rent officers. Where the local reference rent is used to calculate housing benefit, the claimant is made aware of the figure, which is, generally, the average cost of similar sized property in the locality in which the claimant lives. The rent officers use evidence of non-housing benefit rents in making this determination.

The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions produces rent officer statistics quarterly. These give mean local reference rents, by registration area, in England and Wales for the various sizes of dwelling. This publication is available for purchase by the general public. A copy has been placed in the Library.