New clause 6 - Administration

Part of Housing Benefit (Withholding of Payment) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:45 pm on 11 July 2002.

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Photo of Malcolm Wicks Malcolm Wicks Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions 4:45, 11 July 2002

Government new clauses 6 and 7 provide the framework for administering the sanction, and are largely technical. New clause 6 gives powers to require the courts to notify the Department for Work and Pensions of any declarations that they make about antisocial behaviour. It also provides for regulations to allow information to be shared—for example, between the Department for Work and Pensions and local authorities. Finally, it applies the normal requirement for social security legislation, to consult on regulations with the Social Security Advisory Committee.

New clause 7 sets out how the regulations under the Bill would be used. The key point is that all those regulations, except technical ones about administration, would be subject to affirmative resolution procedure. That is in line with existing powers for benefit sanctions. It gives a guarantee of rigorous parliamentary scrutiny—although not necessarily long-winded scrutiny—of any regulations that are made in this potentially controversial area.

I commend both the new clauses to the Committee.