HC Deb 04 April 2000 vol 347 cc446-7W
Mr. Coaker

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to address the problem of under-occupied properties in the social rented sector. [117974]

Angela Eagle

We have introduced a three-year pilot scheme in the London Boroughs of Croydon, Newham and Haringey. Its aim is to test whether financial incentives can encourage Housing Benefit recipients living in under-occupied social housing to move to smaller and cheaper accommodation.

Under the scheme tenants who move will be entitled to a lump sum payment of about half of the Housing Benefit savings that would be expected over three years from the lower rent. This gives them a financial interest in their rents, and an incentive to move somewhere cheaper. The scheme is entirely voluntary.