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OPTIONS FOR REFORM OF HOUSING BENEFIT

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The government has put the reform of housing benefit back on the agenda, but will face difficulties in coming up wi...
The government has put the reform of housing benefit back on the agenda, but will face difficulties in coming up with a better system, according to John Perry, policy director at the Chartered Institute of Housing.

Writing in The Guardian (Society, p6), Mr Perry says that top of the agenda for Hilary Armstrong, the housing minister, is the desire to get to grips with the chaotic pattern of rents.

The contradications are currently enormous. For example, a tenant in a three-bedroom housing association property in Southampton will pay£24 more per week than the equivalent council tenant.

But, says Mr Perry, there is no simple formula for changing the system. Whatever system chosen, there will be winners and losers. For councils, the changes could be cushioned by the subsidy system.

He concludes that the intelligent betting is on far-reaching reform, but with ministers trying to build consensus around it and then implementing it sufficiently slowly so as not to frighten off private lenders.
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