HC Deb 10 January 2001 vol 360 cc575-6W
Mr. McCabe

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what recent representations he has received about appeal rights against recovery of overpayments of Housing Benefit and Council Tax benefit from third parties. [145210]

Angela Eagle

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit legislation provides that where benefit has been paid to a third party, such as a landlord, the local authority has discretion to recover any overpayment either from the claimant or from the person to whom the benefit was actually paid. Under the current review arrangements, the local authority's exercise of discretion in this respect is not a matter reviewable by a Review Board. The decision may of course be challenged by judicial review.

In the light of the proposed changes to decision-making and appeals in Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit, to be introduced in July 2001, we have been examining current procedures to ensure that they remain appropriate, and we have taken account of representations received from a number of organisations. We have decided that, in cases where more than one person may be liable under the legislation to repay an overpayment, the person from whom the local authority decides to seek recovery should have a right of appeal to an appeal tribunal against that decision. Regulations giving effect to the new decision-making and appeals procedures for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit will be laid before the House shortly.

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