New Clause 9 — Regulations about powers to require information, offences and penalties
Local Government Finance Bill
Andrew Stunell (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Communities and Local Government; Hazel Grove, Liberal Democrat)
That is exactly why we produced the statements of intent—to give local authorities and their providers the longest possible time to understand how they might best design and develop a scheme. That is also why we have provided a significant sum of money to assist them in doing that.
The hon. Member for Warrington North also asked about criminal offences being created by the Bill. The Social Security Administration Act 1992 creates several criminal offences in relation to council tax benefit, including an offence of dishonestly making a false statement and one of knowingly making a false statement for the purpose of obtaining council tax benefit. There is a different standard of proof for each offence, as I suspect that the hon. Lady knows better than I do. Greater penalties apply if it can be shown that a person has acted dishonestly.