News from Parliament Nove 2011

(Note: Karen Buck spoke at the last hbinfo conference)

Ms Buck:To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in what order benefits and tax credit will be withdrawn from households with incomes above the benefit cap; and which agency will be responsible in each case. [83227]

Chris Grayling:We are introducing a cap on the total amount of benefit that working-age people can receive so households on out of work benefits will no longer receive more in benefit than the average weekly wage earned by working families.

The benefits that can be capped will be set out in regulations following the passage of the Welfare Reform Bill.

We have announced that the benefit cap will be introduced in April 2013 and be delivered by local authorities through housing benefit payments. It will be applied to universal credit once claimants start receiving it from October 2013.

Ms Buck:To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the effect of increases in private rents on expenditure on local housing allowance in 2011-12. [83184]

Steve Webb:Outturn information on local housing allowance expenditure for 2011-12 is not available until June 2012.

The latest estimate of local housing allowance expenditure for 2011-12 is £7.6 billion(1).

This compares to outturn expenditure of £6.4 billion for 2010-11(2).

The expected increase in expenditure is primarily due to higher numbers of households receiving housing benefit during 2011-12, rather than increases in the level of private rents. Our assumption is that eligible rents for those receiving local housing allowance will fall during 2011-12 following the introduction of the reforms to local housing allowance in April 2011.

(1)Source—Budget 2011 expenditure forecasts at

(2 )Source—Local authority subsidy claims

Ms Buck:To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners in each region were receiving housing benefit in October 2011; and how he proposes that housing benefit will be paid after it is no longer administered by local authorities. [83244]

Steve Webb:These are the latest data available:


Housing benefit recipients aged 65 and over, by region—August 2011



Great Britain


North East


North West


Yorkshire and Humberside


East Midlands


West Midlands


East of England




South East


South West






Source: Single Housing Benefit Extract (SHBE)

Housing benefit will be replaced by a new element of pension credit, the housing credit, to provide support for pensioners with their rent. The housing credit will broadly follow the current rules that apply in housing benefit, including payment arrangements.