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1

 

House of Commons

 
 

Tuesday 28th November 2006

 

Public Bill Committee Proceedings

 

Welfare Reform Bill


 

[Thirteenth and fourteenth Sittings]


 

John Penrose

 

Mr David Ruffley

 

Mr Tim Boswell

 

Mr Jeremy Hunt

 

Withdrawn  267

 

Clause  36,  page  29,  line  40,  leave out ‘may’ and insert ‘must’.

 

Danny Alexander

 

Mr David Laws

 

Not selected  144

 

Clause  36,  page  30,  line  6,  at end insert—

 

‘( )    

Regulations made under subsection (2) may provide for—

 

(a)    

a requirement by the authority administering the benefit to ensure access

 

to free financial advice and education for any person entitled to housing

 

benefit and receiving direct payments of that benefit, and

 

(b)    

a requirement for the authority to identify vulnerable claimants, or to

 

allow vulnerable claimants to self-identify, who are unlikely to have

 

sufficient financial management skills for accepting direct payment of

 

housing benefit; and to allow for the payments of benefits to be made to

 

a third party for claimants identified as vulnerable.’.

 

Clause Agreed to.

 


 

new clauses relating to part 2

 

Non-dependent deductions

 

Danny Alexander

 

Mr David Laws

 

Withdrawn  nc8

 

To move the following Clause:—


 
 

Public Bill Committee Proceedings: 28th November 2006      

2

 

Welfare Reform Bill, continued

 
 

‘(1)    

The Secretary of State shall make regulations such that the non-dependent

 

deduction for—

 

(a)    

housing benefit;

 

(b)    

council tax benefit; and

 

(c)    

Local Housing Allowance

 

    

shall be nil where the non-dependent—

 

(i)    

is in non-remunerative work, or

 

(ii)    

has a gross income from remunerative work of under £101.00 per

 

week.’.

 


 

Possession action for rent arrears involving housing benefit

 

Danny Alexander

 

Mr David Laws

 

Withdrawn  nc9

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘(1)    

Section 7 (orders for possession) of the Housing Act 1988 (c. 50) is amended as

 

follows.

 

(2)    

In subsection (3), for “subsections (5A) and (6)” substitute “subsections (5A), (6)

 

and (6A)”.

 

(3)    

In subsection (4), for “subsections (5A) and (6)” substitute “subsections (5A), (6)

 

and (6A)”.

 

(4)    

After subsection (6), insert—

 

“(6A)    

If the court is satisfied—

 

(a)    

that Ground 8 in Part I of Schedule 2 to this Act is established;

 

and

 

(b)    

that rent is in arrears as mentioned in that Ground as a

 

consequence of a delay or failure in the payment of relevant

 

housing benefit, it shall not make an order for possession unless

 

it considers it reasonable to do so.”.

 

(5)    

At end insert—

 

“(8)    

In subsection (6A) above—

 

(a)    

“relevant housing benefit” means—

 

(i)    

any rent allowance or rent rebate to which the tenant was

 

entitled in respect of the rent under the Housing Benefit

 

Regulations 2006 (S.I. 2006/213); or

 

(ii)    

any payment on account of any such entitlement

 

awarded under Regulation 93 of those Regulations;

 

(b)    

references to delay or failure in the payment of relevant housing

 

benefit do not include such delay or failure so far as referrable to

 

any wilful act or omission of the tenant.”.’.

 



 
 

Public Bill Committee Proceedings: 28th November 2006      

3

 

Welfare Reform Bill, continued

 
 

Circumstances in which a person is treated as occupying a dwelling as his home

 

Danny Alexander

 

Mr David Laws

 

Withdrawn  nc10

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘(1)    

This section applies where a person is moving from a dwelling at which he

 

qualifies for payment of Housing Benefit to another dwelling at which he will

 

qualify for payment of Housing Benefit.

 

(2)    

Regulations may make provisions that such a person may be treated as occupying

 

both dwellings as his home and be eligible for Housing Benefit in respect of both

 

homes for a period not exceeding four weeks if he could not reasonably have

 

avoided rental liability in respect of the two dwellings.

 

(3)    

Regulations under subsection (2) may allow for Housing Benefit to be paid in

 

respect of both dwellings for a period exceeding four weeks where the applicant

 

is awaiting the outcome of an application under Part III of the Social Security Act

 

1988 (c. 7) for a social fund payment to meet a need arising out of the move or in

 

connection with setting up the home in the dwelling.’.

 


 

Interim payment of rent allowance on account

 

Danny Alexander

 

Mr David Laws

 

John Penrose

 

Mr David Ruffley

 

Mr Tim Boswell

 

Mr Jeremy Hunt

 

Withdrawn  nc11

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘Where a relevant local authority has not determined a claim for rent allowance

 

within 14 days of receipt of that claim, in such circumstances as the Secretary of

 

State may by regulation define, the authority shall make a payment on account of

 

rent allowance.’.

 


 

Local Housing Allowance: transitional arrangements

 

Danny Alexander

 

Mr David Laws

 

Withdrawn  NC16

 

To move the following Clause:—


 
 

Public Bill Committee Proceedings: 28th November 2006      

4

 

Welfare Reform Bill, continued

 
 

‘Regulations may make provision for those in receipt of Housing Benefit to be

 

entitled to claim Local Housing Allowance from the coming into force of this

 

Act.’.

 


 

Overpayment of benefits

 

Danny Alexander

 

Mr David Laws

 

Withdrawn  NC17

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘(1)    

For the purposes of section 75(1) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992

 

any amount of housing benefit paid in excess of entitlement may not be recovered

 

if the overpayment was the fault of the Secretary of State.

 

(2)    

For the purposes of section 76(1) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992

 

any excess benefit may not be recovered if the payment of excess benefit was the

 

fault of the Secretary of State.’.

 


 

Danny Alexander

 

Mr David Laws

 

Withdrawn  168

 

Clause  40,  page  33,  line  6,  after ‘evidence’, insert ‘other than medical evidence’.

 

Clause Agreed to.

 


 

Danny Alexander

 

Mr David Laws

 

Not called  169

 

Clause  41,  page  34,  line  23,  after second ‘information’, insert ‘excluding medical

 

information’.

 

Danny Alexander

 

Mr David Laws

 

Withdrawn  145

 

Clause  41,  page  34,  line  35,  after ‘function’, insert ‘prescribed by the Secretary of

 

State’.

 

Danny Alexander

 

Mr David Laws

 

Not called  146

 

Clause  41,  page  34,  line  41,  after ‘function’, insert ‘prescribed by the Secretary of

 

State’.


 
 

Public Bill Committee Proceedings: 28th November 2006      

5

 

Welfare Reform Bill, continued

 
 

Adam Afriyie

 

Not selected  274

 

Clause  41,  page  35,  line  20,  leave out paragraph (a).

 

Danny Alexander

 

Mr David Laws

 

Withdrawn  147

 

Clause  41,  page  35,  line  22,  at end insert—

 

‘(10)    

A person who is the subject of information that has been supplied in accordance

 

with subsection (1) shall be notified in respect of—

 

(a)    

the information provided, and

 

(b)    

the person to whom that information has been given.’.

 

Clause Agreed to.

 

Clause 42 Agreed to.

 


 

Danny Alexander

 

Mr David Laws

 

Not moved  148

 

Clause  43,  page  36,  line  34,  leave out subsection (2).

 

Clause Agreed to.

 


 

Danny Alexander

 

Mr David Laws

 

Not called  149

 

Clause  44,  page  37,  line  5,  leave out subsection (2).

 

Clause Agreed to.

 


 

Mr Jim Murphy

 

Agreed to  68

 

Clause  45,  page  37,  line  30,  at end insert—

 

‘(1C)    

An authorisation made for a purpose mentioned in section 109A(2)(a), (c) or

 

(d)—

 

(a)    

is subject to such restrictions as may be prescribed;

 

(b)    

is not valid in such circumstances as may be prescribed.’.

 

Clause, as amended, Agreed to.

 



 
 

Public Bill Committee Proceedings: 28th November 2006      

6

 

Welfare Reform Bill, continued

 
 

Mr Jim Murphy

 

Agreed to  69

 

Clause  46,  page  38,  line  2,  at end insert ‘unless—

 

(a)    

the proceedings relate to any benefit or circumstances or any description

 

of benefit or circumstances which the Secretary of State prescribes for the

 

purposes of this paragraph, or

 

(b)    

the Secretary of State has directed that the authority must not bring the

 

proceedings,

 

    

and a direction under paragraph (b) may relate to a particular authority or

 

description of authority or to particular proceedings or any description of

 

proceedings.’.

 

Mr Jim Murphy

 

Agreed to  70

 

Clause  46,  page  38,  leave out lines 7 to 10 and insert—

 

‘(3A)    

The Secretary of State may continue proceedings which have been brought by an

 

authority under this section as if the proceedings had been brought in his name or

 

he may discontinue the proceedings if—

 

(a)    

he makes provision under subsection (2)(a), such that the authority would

 

no longer be entitled to bring the proceedings under this section,

 

(b)    

he gives a direction under subsection (2)(b) in relation to the proceedings,

 

or

 

(c)    

a condition prescribed under subsection (3) ceases to be satisfied in

 

relation to the proceedings.’.

 

Mr Jim Murphy

 

Agreed to  71

 

Clause  46,  page  38,  line  10,  at end insert—

 

‘( )    

In the exercise of its power under subsection (2), a local authority must have

 

regard to the Code for Crown Prosecutors issued by the Director of Public

 

Prosecutions under section 10 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985—

 

(a)    

in determining whether the proceedings should be instituted;

 

(b)    

in determining what charges should be preferred;

 

(c)    

in considering what representations to make to a magistrates’ court about

 

mode of trial;

 

(d)    

in determining whether to discontinue proceedings.’.

 

Clause, as amended, Agreed to.

 

Clauses 47 to 52 Agreed to.

 

[Adjourned till Thursday at 9.10 a.m.


 
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