Local Housing Allowance and Homelessness — [Mr Adrian Bailey in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:43 am on 24th July 2019.

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Photo of Will Quince Will Quince The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 10:43 am, 24th July 2019

I have been a Minister for only three months and I keep all the policies in my remit at the Department under very close review. I regularly meet and have conversations with key stakeholders in policy areas such as this, to ensure that we are aware where policies are and are not working, and that we are alive to the issues. It will not come as a surprise to the hon. Lady that stakeholders in this area have flagged LHA rates as an issue. That is why we are looking at it very closely indeed.

The additional funding enabled us to increase 213 LHA rates—there are 960 rates in total—by 3% last year. This year, a total of £210 million has been made available: the highest amount of targeted affordability funding since its introduction in 2014. That has enabled us to increase 361 LHA rates by 3%. As a result, it is estimated that 500,000 households this year will benefit from an increase of around £250 a year.

In addition to that targeted affordability funding, the Government have provided more than £1 billion in discretionary housing payments to local authorities since 2011, which the hon. Member for Westminster North referred to. Discretionary housing payments allow local authorities to protect the most vulnerable claimants and support households affected by different welfare reforms, including the freeze to the LHA.