§ Mr. Davidson
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans she has to review the regulations restricting the eligibility of single claimants other than young people to accommodation costs; and if she will make a statement. 216W
§ Ms Harman
I gave a commitment before the last election that I would review the regulations which extend the single room rent to people aged 25 or over. These limit housing benefit to the average market rent for a single non-self contained room.
I have considered carefully the view of the Social Security Advisory Committee that without a thorough review of the effect of the existing single room rent rules—which were only introduced in October 1996—the Government should not extend them. I have also taken account of representations from hon. Members, the Local Authority Associations and others.
In order to avoid local authorities incurring unnecessary costs, I can announce today that I propose to revoke the extension of single room rent to those aged 25 or over.
In line with the manifesto commitment, the cost of this change will be met in full by other measures from within the Department's programme. A further announcement will be made at the time of the Budget.