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Housing Benefit: Brent

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 3rd February 2011.

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Photo of Barry Gardiner Barry Gardiner Labour, Brent North

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions he has had with housing officers at the London borough of Brent on the anticipated changes in the number of homeless families as a result of the changes to housing benefit rates.

Photo of Steve Webb Steve Webb The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

We have not discussed the impact of the 2011 changes to local housing allowance rates independently with the London borough of Brent. We have however planned a series of the conferences for all local authority housing benefit managers to provide them with information about the changes in 2011. These events will promote awareness of the toolkit of products, including detailed guidance, we will be providing for local authorities. To reduce the risk of households becoming homeless we have a substantial package of financial and practical support in place, worth £190 million over the spending review period. We are giving existing customers up to nine months' transitional protection so that they have time to look for alternative accommodation if they need to.

We are also widening local authority discretion to pay housing benefit direct to the landlord if it would help the customer secure a new tenancy or remain in their current home at a reduced rent.

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