HC Deb 14 April 2003 vol 403 c513W
Mr. Willetts

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which local authorities count war pensions(a) in full and (b) in part when calculating entitlement to housing benefit or council tax benefit. [107417]

Malcolm Wicks

I have been asked to reply.

A statutory disregard of £10 is applied to War Disablement Pensions and War Widows Pensions when calculating entitlement to income-related benefits. In the case of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit, local authorities have the discretion to apply a further disregard up to the full amount of any War Pension in payment. Any amount on top of the statutory disregard is funded from authorities' own resources.

Local authorities, through their discretionary schemes, are best placed to determine the needs of their local residents, taking account of local priorities. At the end of March 2003, 387 local authorities were disregarding War Pensions in full and from this month April 2003, six more authorities have given an undertaking to apply a full disregard. A further four authorities apply a disregard in excess of the statutory £10, and have confirmed their intention to make further improvements to their local schemes. The remaining 11 authorities apply the statutory disregard.

Lists of the authorities which fall into each of these categories have been placed in the Library.