HC Deb 22 January 2001 vol 361 c466W
Mr. Burstow

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer of 11 January 2001,Official Report, column 606W, on benefit payments, if he will estimate (a) the value and (b) the percentage of Housing Benefit payments that were found to be inaccurate in each local authority area for (i) 1996–97 and (ii) the most recent period for which figures are available. [146093]

Mr. Rooker

The information requested is not available. The only measure of the level of Housing Benefit accuracy has been the National Housing Benefit accuracy reviews, the latest of which was carried out during 1997–98, and which are in the Library. However, under the arrangements for Best Value, local authorities are required, from 1 April 2000, to collect information on the percentage of cases for which the calculation of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit is correct.

We are also continuing to work on introducing a consistent national measure for fraud and error in Housing Benefit in all local authorities for April 2001.

Mr. Willetts

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the proportion of Housing Benefit claims processed by local authorities within 14 days, for(a) the period immediately before and (b) the period since the implementation of the verification framework. [143523]

Angela Eagle

The information requested is not available.

This Department collects information from local authorities on the number of Housing Benefit claims determined within 14 days of receipt of all necessary information. However, this is not a measure of the time taken to process a claim and it should not be affected by the operation of the verification framework, which is concerned with the gathering of necessary information and evidence.

Mr. Webb

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the number of people who have been waiting for more than three months to receive the Housing Benefit to which they are entitled; and if he will estimate the total value of those arrears. [146316]

Angela Eagle

No. Information about unprocessed cases is not collected centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.