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HOUSING BENEFIT AND COUNCIL TAX BENEFIT QUARTERLY SUMMARY STATISTICS

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The May 2002 Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Quarterly ...
The May 2002 Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Quarterly

Summary Statistics (QSS) is published today. Housing Benefit (HB) and

Council Tax Benefit (CTB) are income-related benefits administered by

Local Authorities (LAs) and designed to help people on low incomes

pay their rent and/or council tax. People are eligible only if they

are liable to pay rent and/or council tax (or are treated as if they

were so liable) in respect of the dwelling they occupy as their home.

The QSS is a summary of data collected from LAs in Great Britain and

provides analyses of the caseload at a point in time and over time.

The type of analyses includes numbers of, and average weekly amounts

paid to recipients, caseload by Government Office Region, and

analysis of recipients by whether they are paid as in receipt of

Income Support (IS), Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) or income-based

Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA(IB)).

Main findings:

- At May 2002 there were 3.81 million recipients of HB which is just

under 16 per cent of Great Britain households. The proportion of

households by Government Office Region varied from 10.7 per cent of

the households in the South East to 21.8 per cent in the North

East.

- The overall number of HB recipients fell by just under 5,000 in the

quarter to May 2002. Compared with the same point in 2001, the

caseload decreased by 62,000 (1.6 per cent). The number of HB

recipients paid as in receipt of IS, MIG or JSA(IB) rose by 8,000

(0.3per cent) in the quarter, to stand at 2.64 million. The number

of recipients not in receipt of IS, MIG or JSA(IB) continued to

fall to 1.18 million, a decrease of 1.1 per cent in the quarter.

- The number of local authority tenants claiming a rent rebate fell

by around 19,000 (0.9 per cent) in the quarter, and by 96,000 (4.5

per cent) over the year, to 2.04 million.

- The number of tenants in RSL and private rented accommodation who

claimed rent rebate increased by 14,000 (0.8 per cent) in the

quarter, an increase of 34,000 (2 per cent) in the year, to stand

at 1.78 million. The increase in this area of the caseload was due

to the continued rise of registered social landlord (RSL)

tenancies. The breakdown of the rent allowance caseload was as

follows:

- Deregulated private tenancies fell by 2 per cent over the year, to

621,000.

- Regulated private tenancies fell by 10.4 per cent over the year, to

95,000.

- RSL tenancies increased by 5.9 per cent over the year, to 1.06

million.

- Sixty-nine per cent of HB recipients were also paid as in receipt

of IS, MIG or JSA(IB) in May 2002, an increase in the number of

recipients of 1.3 per cent over the year. The number not in receipt

of IS/MIG/JSA(IB) fell by 7.5 per cent.

- The average weekly amount of HB paid to recipients rose slightly in

the quarter to stand at£54.70. By Government Office Region, this

ranged from£44.00 in Scotland to£77.70 in London. By tenure type,

this varied from£39.00 for LA tenants in the North East, to£91.70

for private tenants in London.

- The number of CTB recipients, excluding second adult rebates, fell

by 72,000 (1.5 per cent) between May 2001 and May 2002, to 4.6

million (just under 19 per cent of Great Britain households). The

proportion of recipients by Government Office Region varied from

12.6 per cent in the South East to 26.5 per cent in the North East.

- The average weekly amount of Council Tax Benefit paid to recipients

rose in the quarter to£10.80. By Government Office Region, this

ranged from£9 in Wales to£12 in the East.

Caseload undercount

The caseload figures are taken from LA administrative records and

there is evidence that more rigorous checking of claims, among other

things, has led to a rising number of claims waiting for final

decision. Current estimates are that this is running at about 500,000

cases in the latest quarters. This will have an effect across the

board but is likely to have more impact on short term claims (eg the

unemployed group) as they have a greater proportion awaiting a

decision at any time. Caution is therefore needed in interpreting

trends in the series.

NOTES

The QSS is based on 100 per cent caseloads of all recipients in Great

Britain whose benefit was in payment on the second Thursday of May

2002. These statistics are a summary of information collected by ASD

from the LAs of Great Britain. The data collected is used for policy

evaluation and expenditure forecasting, and to answer parliamentary

questions and external queries.

A household is either one person living alone, or a group of people

who share common housekeeping or a living room. The percentage of

households in Great Britain reflects the payment of HB or CTB made to

individuals on behalf of themselves, their partners and their

dependants (if they have any).

Quarterly aggregate count

Two statistical returns (one for claims paid as in receipt of

IS/MIG/JSA(IB) and one for where they are not) are requested from

each LA relating to the second Thursday in May, August, November and

February. These include totals of HB and CTB claims, average amounts

of HB, average eligible rent and a split of the claims by tenancy

type. The figures provided are compared with previous quarters and

any substantial changes are investigated. For LAs that do not

respond, estimates are made by 'up-rating' past figures in line with

regional changes. Results are available around four months after the

enquiry date.

Quarterly administrative return

Each quarter, all LAs are requested to provide selective

administrative data relating to the previous three months. These

include information on the number of claims received, the number of

claims processed or paid within 14 days and extended payments. Unlike

the quarterly aggregate count, the administrative return contains

information on activity throughout the quarter rather than a snapshot

on a specific date. For LAs that do not respond, estimates are made

by up-rating past figures in line with regional changes.

To obtain copies contact:

Allyson Monaghan

Telephone: 0191 225 9528

Facsimile: 0191 225 3193

e-mail: Allyson.monaghan@dwp.gsi.gov.uk

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