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COUNCILS SAY NO TO BENEFITS HANDOVER

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Councils have rejected government suggestions that they take over administration of social security benefits, repor...
Councils have rejected government suggestions that they take over administration of social security benefits, reports The Independent (p28).

Social security secretary Peter Lilley suggested in January that localising the benefit system would have several advantages, including the possibility of locally varying benefit rates.

But, says the paper, councils are worried that a transfer of benefit responsibilities would not be fully financed, which was a problem with the handover of housing benefit administration in 1982.

Stephen Campbell, social services under-secretary at the Association of County Councils, told the paper that the plans would be viewed with 'extreme caution'.

Paul Lautman of the Association of District Councils is also quoted: 'We would be extremely cautious, to put it mildly. There is a deep-seated sense of betrayal felt by local authorities on the way they were treated on housing benefit,' he said.
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