Council Tax Benefits
Communities and Local Government
Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion, Green)
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what information his Department holds about (a) the claimant caseload in Brighton and Hove for the receipt of council tax benefit over the period from 2009-10 to 2011-12 and (b) the forecast council tax benefit claimant caseload in Brighton and Hove expected in 2012-13 and 2013-14; if he will make it his policy to take account of local authority forecasts of future claimant caseload in the calculation of the council tax support grant; and if he will make a statement.
Brandon Lewis (Great Yarmouth, Conservative)
Receipt of council tax benefit in every month between November 2008 and May 2012 can be found in table 10.
Forecast council tax benefit caseload is not available for individual local authorities.
Forecasts of the future number of council tax benefit recipients at a Great Britain level and by country is published by the Department for Work and Pensions at the following link:
Line 81 gives the Great Britain caseload, and lines 103 to 105 give the total caseload by country.
For the purposes of determining the grant distribution, we will use local authorities' share of 2011-12 subsidised council tax benefit expenditure.
As the Government have made clear in the Localising Council Tax Support—Funding Allocation Consultation:
published in May 2012, the overall allocation for council tax support will be based on the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast of council tax benefit expenditure for Great Britain in 2013-14. The final figures are due to be published in the autumn and will take account of claimant numbers adjusted in relation to identified trends in claimant numbers and level of council tax.
From April 2013, our reforms will localise council tax support and give councils stronger incentives to support local firms, cut fraud, promote local enterprise and get people back into work. Spending on council tax benefit doubled under the last Administration and welfare reform is vital to tackle the budget deficit we have inherited.