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Written Question
Housing Benefit: Social Rented Housing
Tuesday 26th April 2022

Asked by: Justin Madders (Labour - Ellesmere Port and Neston)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has undertaken an Equality Impact Assessment of the continuation of the spare room subsidy.

Answered by David Rutley - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)

Such an assessment has not been made.

Ministers continue to fulfil the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty and to consider the equality impacts when taking decisions about policy changes.

The removal of the spare room subsidy is an important tool to make better use of the existing social housing stock, enable mobility within the social rented sector as well as strengthening work-incentives.

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPS) are available for those who need additional housing support. Since 2011 we have provided almost £1.5billion in DHP’s to local authorities.


Written Question
Poverty
Monday 25th April 2022

Asked by: Rachael Maskell (Labour (Co-op) - York Central)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to tackle the challenges presented by areas of very high housing costs for people in housing poverty.

Answered by Stuart Andrew - Minister of State (Minister for Housing)

The Government understands that people are concerned about pressure on household budgets and is taking action to help. The Chancellor announced in February a package of support to help households with rising energy bills, worth £9.1 billion in 2022-23.

Individuals who are unable to afford their rental payments may be eligible for a range of support through the Universal Credit system. In April 2020, the Government boosted investment in the Local Housing Allowance by nearly £1 billion, providing 1.5 million claimants with around £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received. We maintained LHA rates at their increased levels in 2021/22 and rates will remain at those levels for 2022/23, so that everyone who benefitted from the increase will continue to do so.

Whilst three quarters of private renters find no difficulties in keeping up with their rent, we understand that affordability may be an issue for some and that they may require additional support. Discretionary Housing Payments are available to those entitled to Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit who face a shortfall in meeting their housing costs. Since 2011, the Government has provided almost £1.5 billion in Discretionary Housing Payments to local authorities. From April, the Government is also providing an additional £500 million to help households with the cost of essentials through the Household Support Fund. This brings the total funding for this support to £1 billion.

For people living in social rented homes there are caps on maximum rent increases, under the social housing rent settlement that came into force in April 2020. This aims to strike a fair balance between the interests of existing social housing tenants, the interests of taxpayers, the need to build more homes and the importance of ensuring that providers have sufficient income with which to manage and maintain their properties.

For social renting tenants receiving Housing Benefit the maximum amount of Housing Benefit payable reflects the actual rent charged, subject to the removal of the spare room subsidy and the total benefit cap.


Written Question
Pensioners: Poverty
Wednesday 2nd March 2022

Asked by: Rachael Maskell (Labour (Co-op) - York Central)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she will take to ensure that people of pensionable age have sufficient money to pay their rents in addition to their household bills.

Answered by Guy Opperman - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)

We have a comprehensive package of measures to help pensioners. The State Pension is the foundation of support for older people, and the value of it has been steadily increasing since 2010.

In 2020/21 the total welfare spending in Great Britain on Pensioners was £125.1 billion. This included around £5.5 billion for Housing Benefit to support pensioners with their rental costs. Pensioner spend is forecast to increase this year.

Pensioners who are in receipt of the guarantee credit element of Pension Credit as well as Housing Benefit receive their maximum eligible rent less any non-dependant deductions (if applicable).

Pensioners renting in the social sector have their rent paid in full (subject to deductions for excess income and non-dependants), they are not subject to the removal of the spare room subsidy policy. Pensioners renting in the private rented sector have their housing benefit determined by the local housing allowance (LHA) rate.

In April 2020 LHA rates were increased to the 30th percentile of local rents. This investment of nearly £1 billion provided 1.5 million claimants with an average £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received.

LHA rates have been maintained at their increased levels in 2021/22 and will remain at those levels for 2022/23, so that everyone who benefitted from the increase will continue to do so.

For those who require additional support, Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are available. Since 2011 we have provided almost £1.5 billion in DHPs to local authorities for households who need additional support with their housing costs.


Written Question
Housing Benefit
Monday 15th November 2021

Asked by: George Howarth (Labour - Knowsley)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average housing benefit is for (a) social and (b) private landlord properties, by region in England.

Answered by David Rutley - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)

For the information requested on the average housing benefit amounts for social and private rented properties, by region, in England, this is published and available at: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk

Guidance for users is available at: https://sw.stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html


Written Question
Heating: Housing
Friday 29th October 2021

Asked by: Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party - Strangford)

Question to the HM Treasury:

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will provide funding to help support customers to switch to green domestic heating providers in the upcoming spending review.

Answered by Helen Whately - Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)

The Heat and Buildings Strategy sets out the steps the Government is taking to make the transition to low carbon buildings affordable and achievable for all, including by committing £3.9 billion to ensure buildings are warmer and cheaper to heat, while supporting jobs across the country.

Households will benefit from £5,000 government grants through the £450 million Boiler Upgrade Scheme to help install low-carbon heating systems. The scheme will support the deployment of low carbon heat by helping to scale the heat pump market and support consumers with the upfront costs alongside a wider framework of polices as we aim to reach 600,000 installations per year by 2028.

The £950m Home Upgrade Grant will also provide support to low income off gas grid households by installing energy efficiency upgrades and low carbon heating while the £800 million Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund will help to improve the energy performance of social rented homes.


Written Question
Housing Benefit
Wednesday 27th October 2021

Asked by: Lord Storey (Liberal Democrat - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the average level of housing benefit paid to people renting (1) one bedroom, (2) two bedroom, (3) three bedroom, and (4) four bedroom, accommodation in the (a) private, (b) housing association, and (c) council, sector.

Answered by Baroness Stedman-Scott - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

For the information requested on the average level of Housing Benefit in Great Britain paid by bedroom number and tenure, the following averages have been produced using departmental administrative data, the latest of which is from May 2021.

Sector

Number of Bedrooms

1

2

3

4

Private Rented

£526

£549

£606

£788

Social Rented Sector Housing Association

£552

£407

£414

£500

Local Authority

£372

£353

£367

£419

Notes:

1) Does not include those in Private Rented Shared Accommodation.

2) Does not include those on housing element of Universal Credit.

3) Figures for 2+ bedrooms allow for Reduction in Spare Room Subsidy where appropriate.


Written Question
Housing Benefit
Wednesday 27th October 2021

Asked by: Lord Storey (Liberal Democrat - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much was paid in housing benefit to (1) tenants of private landlords, (2) tenants of housing associations, (3) councils, in each of the last three financial years.

Answered by Baroness Stedman-Scott - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

For the information requested on Housing Benefit expenditure this is available in the benefit expenditure and caseload tables produced by the department, the latest of which was published on gov.uk in March 2021.

For the tenure types requested, we advise that Local Authority Tenants (Rent Rebate) figures are suitable for (3) councils, Registered Social Landlord Tenants are suitable for (2) housing associations, and Private Rented Sector tenants are suitable for (1) private landlords.

Housing benefits expenditure £ million, nominal terms

By Tenure

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

of which Local Authority Tenants (Rent Rebate)

5,485

5,178

4,788

of which Registered Social Landlord Tenants

9,107

8,681

7,967

of which Private Rented Sector tenants

7,709

6,871

5,609

Notes:

(1) Does not include expenditure on the housing element of Universal Credit.


Written Question
Housing Benefit: Social Rented Housing
Tuesday 15th June 2021

Asked by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many children live in households that are subject to the under-occupancy penalty.

Answered by Will Quince - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)

The removal of the spare room subsidy policy has been an important tool to help to manage housing support expenditure and enable mobility within the social rented sector. For those who require additional support with housing costs, Discretionary Housing Payments are available.

The information requested for households in Housing Benefit is published and available at: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk

Guidance for users is available at: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

The information for Universal Credit is not readily available.


Written Question
Housing Benefit: Social Rented Housing
Monday 14th June 2021

Asked by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many households were subject to the under-occupancy penalty; what the total size was of the reduction in benefit payments resulting from the under-occupancy penalty; and what the average reduction per affected claimant was, by parliamentary constituency, in the most recent 12 month period for which data are available.

Answered by Will Quince - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)

The information requested is published and available at: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk within the sections on “Housing Benefit” and “Households on Universal Credit”.

For the total size of reduction in benefit payments average reduction per affected claimant “RSRS reduction” with “measures” will need to be used. Guidance for users is available at: https://sw.stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html


Written Question
Housing Benefit: Social Rented Housing
Thursday 10th June 2021

Asked by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of (a) claimants subject to the under-occupancy penalty are in employment and (b) households subject to the under-occupancy penalty contain at least one person in employment.

Answered by Will Quince - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)

The information requested is not readily available for Universal Credit, and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Data on households in Housing Benefit impacted by the Removal of Spare Room Subsidy is published and available at: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk within the section on “Housing Benefit”.

Guidance for users is available at: https://sw.stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html