Housing benefits

All Commons Briefing Papers
60 Documents
19.07.2016Paying for supported housing
This House of Commons Library briefing paper explains the impact of the Government's policy of requiring rent reductions, and also the application of Local Housing Allowance caps, on the supported housing sector. The sector has argued that the measures threaten its viability. A one-year delay in implementation, pending the outcome of an evidence review, has been secured.
05.05.2016Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) scheme
This Commons Library briefing paper explains the assistance available for certain households with their mortgage interest payments. Help with mortgage costs is available to claimants of certain means-tested benefits for people not in full-time work. The schemes are collectively known as Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI). Payments are made towards mortgage interest payments and are generally made direct to lenders.
25.04.2016Welfare reform and disabled people
The Library briefing provides an overview of the benefits changes introduced since 2010 affecting disabled people and their families, looks at the impact of the changes, and summarises responses from disability organisations and others.
14.03.2016The Benefit Cap
This House of Commons Library briefing paper explains how the household benefit cap operates and considers evidence of its impact to date. It goes on to consider the Government's intention to reduce the cap from 26,000 to 20,000 per year (23,000 in London).
08.03.2016Can private landlords refuse to let to Housing Benefit claimants?
This House of Commons Library Briefing Paper discusses evidence to suggest that private landlords are reluctant to let to prospective tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit. The paper considers the reasons behind this reluctance and why refusals are unlikely to amount to direct discrimination.
19.02.2016Impact of the under-occupation deduction from Housing Benefit (social rented housing)
This House of Commons Briefing Paper summarises some key findings arising from research into the impact of the under-occupation deduction from Housing Benefit (also referred to as the 'Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy' or 'bedroom tax').
18.02.2016Welfare Reform and Work Bill 2015-16: Lords amendments
The Welfare Reform and Work Bill 2015-16 had its Third Reading in the House of Lords on 9 February, and the Commons is due to consider Lords amendments on 23 February.
12.02.2016EU referendum: impact of an EU exit in key UK policy areas
This paper looks at the current situation in a range of policy areas and considers how it might change if the UK left the EU: would UK citizens benefit? This would depend on how the Government filled any policy gaps left by withdrawal.
10.02.2016The UN Inquiry into the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the UK
The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is conducting an inquiry into the impact of the UK Government's policies on people with disabilities in relation to their human rights obligations. This briefing paper provides information on the Committee, details of the inquiry and an overview of the Government's policies in relation to people with disabilities.
02.02.2016Under-occupying social housing: Housing Benefit entitlement
This House of Commons Briefing Paper provides information on which claimants are affected by the reduction in Housing Benefit when under-occupying a social rented home. The policy is often referred to as 'the removal of the Spare Room Subsidy' or the 'bedroom tax'. The benefit reduction has been in place since 1 April 2013. The paper summarises some of the key legal challenges to the under-occupation deduction from Housing Benefit.
05.01.2016Universal Credit changes from April 2016
Universal Credit (UC) is a new benefit which is to replace means-tested social security benefits and tax credits for working-age claimants by 2021. UC work allowances, the maximum a claimant can earn before their award is withdrawn, will be reduced from April 2016. Limits to support for new claimants will also apply from April 2017. This paper provides an introduction to Universal Credit and analyses the impact of these proposed changes.
29.12.2015Council Tax Reduction Schemes
This House of Commons Library Briefing Paper provides information on the implementation of local Council Tax Reduction Schemes from 1 April 2013. These local support schemes have replaced the national scheme of Council Tax Benefit.
30.11.2015Spending Review and Autumn Statement 2015: a summary
Updated analysis of the Spending Review and Autumn Statement 2015.
27.11.20152016 Benefits Uprating
This note sets out the main benefit and tax credit rates for the 2016-17 financial year.
20.11.2015Background to the 2015 Spending Review and Autumn Statement
Background to the joint 2015 Spending Review and Autumn Statement, which will be presented to Parliament on 25 November 2015.
20.11.2015A Fresh Start: the Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan and the Northern Ireland (Welfare Reform) Bill 2015-16 [Bill 99]
The Northern Ireland (Welfare Reform) Bill is part of a process to stabilise the political institutions in Northern Ireland. It stems from a package agreed between the UK and Irish Governments and the largest Northern Ireland parties: the Fresh Start agreement. This paper gives a guide to the Bill, and to the agreement.
26.10.2015Welfare Reform and Work Bill 2015-16 Committee Stage Report
This Commons Library Briefing Paper summarises debate and amendments to the Bill during its committee stage in the House of Commons.
26.08.2015Housing Benefit: withdrawing entitlement from 18-21 year olds
The Government intends to withdraw Housing Benefit entitlement from some 18-21 year olds from April 2017. This briefing considers evidence on the potential impact of withdrawal and provides comment from organisations and those working with young homeless people.
16.07.2015Welfare Reform and Work Bill [Bill 51 of 2015-16]
This House of Commons Briefing Paper provides background to the Welfare Reform and Work Bill's provisions; summarises the key measures; and includes relevant comment. The Bill is scheduled to receive its Second Reading on 20 July 2015.
10.07.2015Summer Budget 2015: A summary
This note presents a summary of the Summer Budget 2015. This note provides an overview of the main Budget measures (see below), along with analysis of the forecasts, changes to the fiscal rules, changes to welfare, the National Living Wage, and public spending.
06.07.2015Discretionary Housing Payments
This note explains the funding position and considers evidence on how Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are allocated by local authorities.
03.07.2015Background to the July 2015 Budget
This note sets out the background to the July 2015 Budget, the first Budget of the current Parliament.
17.06.2015Measures to limit migrants' access to benefits
Following an article by the Prime Minister's in the Financial Times on 27 November 2013 in which he said he shared concerns about the impact of lifting transitional restrictions on the right of Romanian and Bulgarian right to work in the UK from 1 January 2014, the Government has introduced a raft of measures 'to tighten up our EEA migration rules to ensure our welfare system is not taken advantage of.'
04.06.2015Scotland Bill 2015-16
The Commons Library's briefing note on the Scotland Bill 2015-16.
04.06.2015Scotland Bill: Welfare & Employment Support (Bill 3 of 2015-16)
This briefing provides detailed information on the welfare and employment support provisions in the Scotland Bill. The Bill is scheduled to receive its Second Reading on 8 June 2015. With the exception of a new power to top-up reserved benefits, there are no substantive differences between the welfare and employment provisions in the Bill and the previously published draft clauses.
19.03.2015The Parties' housing policy commitments 2015
This note collates public commitments made on housing policy by the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, UKIP and the Green Party ahead of the publication of the parties' 2015 election manifestos.
10.03.2015Constituency casework: housing (England)
This note provides a guide to reliable sources of information (including other House of Commons Library briefings) for answering common constituents' housing problems.
06.02.2015Further devolution of powers to Scotland: Universal Credit housing element and payment arrangements
This note explains the Smith Commission's proposals and the Draft Scotland Clauses in relation to Universal Credit (UC), including the housing costs element (currently Housing Benefit). As it stands, UC will remain a reserved benefit but the Scottish Parliament would be given the power to vary the housing costs element of UC, and powers to vary the manner and frequency of UC payments.
30.12.2014The Affordable Homes Bill 2014-15
This note provides background information on the Bill's provisions and summarises the content of the Bill. The Bill's Committee Stage was adjourned on 29 October 2014 as a money resolution must be passed in order for it to progress any further.
27.11.2014Benefit Entitlement (Restriction) Bill 2014-15
The Benefit Entitlement (Restriction) Bill is a Private Members' Bill presented by Christopher Chope. The Bill makes provision 'to restrict the entitlement of non-UK Citizens from the European Union and the European Economic Area to taxpayer-funded benefits.' The Bill provides that the restrictions on entitlement are 'notwithstanding the provisions of the European Communities Act 1972.'
26.11.2014Housing Benefit: Shared Accommodation Rate
The Shared Accommodation Rate (SAR) limits the amount of Housing Benefit that single person under the age of 35 can receive. This note provides background information on the operation of the SAR and its extension in January 2012 to claimants under age 35.
24.11.2014Votes in Parliament on the under-occupation deduction from Housing Benefit
This note provides information on when divisions (votes) concerning this measure (referred to as the 'bedroom tax' and also the 'spare room subsidy' have taken place in Parliament and on the outcome of those divisions. Details are provided on how the different Parties voted.
10.02.2014Paying the housing element of Universal Credit direct to tenants in social rented housing
This note explains the Government's intention that social housing tenants in receipt of assistance with their housing costs should take responsibility for passing this assistance to their landlords when Universal Credit is phased in from April 2013.
30.12.2013The reform of Housing Benefit (Local Housing Allowance) for tenants in private rented housing
This note discusses the implementation of the LHA since 7 April 2008 and the reform of Housing Benefit for private tenants.
23.12.2013Housing Benefit: under-occupation in the private rented sector
This note explains issues around the application of the size criteria to people under-occupying their homes in the private rented sector and who are in receipt of Housing Benefit.
29.11.2013The housing element of Universal Credit
This note highlights some of the key differences between the current Housing Benefit system and the housing element of Universal Credit.
11.10.2013Measures to reduce Housing Benefit expenditure - an overview
This note outlines all the measures aimed at reducing Housing Benefit expenditure set out in the June 2010 Budget and the October 2010 Spending Review, together with comment and an assessment of the impact of those measures.
24.06.2013Localising support for Council Tax - background
This note provides background to the introduction of Council Tax Reduction Schemes and the abolition of Council Tax Benefit.
29.05.2013Paying Local Housing Allowance direct to tenants in private rented housing
This note explains the requirement to pay Local Housing Allowance direct to most tenants in the deregulated private rented sector since 7 April 2008.
07.02.2013Draft Universal Credit Regulations 2013
Starting in selected 'Pathfinder' areas from April 2013, Universal Credit (UC) will begin to replace a range of means-tested benefits and tax credits for working age families. The Draft Universal Credit Regulations set out the detailed rules for the new benefit.
04.01.2013Welfare Benefits Uprating Bill
09.11.2012Universal Credit: an introduction
Starting from next year, Universal Credit (UC) will begin to replace a range of means-tested benefits and tax credits for working age families. The intention is to simplify and streamline the benefits system for claimants, making it easier for people to understand; to reduce the financial and administrative barriers to work; to tackle in-work poverty; and to bear down on fraud and error.
16.05.2012Local Government Finance Bill 2012-13
This paper summarises the Second Reading and Committee of the Whole House stages of the Local Government Finance Bill 2010-12, which has been carried over into the 2012-13 session. Library Research Paper 12/01, Local Government Finance Bill 2010-12, published for Second Reading on 10 January 2012 in the 2010-12 session, is relevant.
27.01.2012Welfare Reform Bill 2010-12: amendments at the Lords Committee and Report stages
The Welfare Reform Bill has its Third Reading in the House of Lords on 31 January 2012. At Report Stage in the Lords, the government suffered defeats on amendments relating to under-occupation of social housing, the Employment and Support Allowance, the proposed benefit cap, and child support maintenance
05.01.2012Local Government Finance Bill 2010-12
This Research Paper has been prepared for the second reading of the Local Government Finance Bill 2010-12. The Local Government Finance Bill has been carried over into the 2012-13 session as Bill 4 of 2012/13. The Bill had completed its Committee Stage before the end of the 2010-12 Session and will have its remaining stages on 21 May 2012. Research Paper 12/14 considers the proceedings on the Bill before it was carried over.
05.12.2011Uprating of social security benefits
Most but not all benefits are uprated in April each year, by reference to the increase in prices over the year to the previous September. The current Government has adopted the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) as the measure of inflation for uprating purposes. CPI tends to rise more slowly than the measures used. previously. The CPI for September 2011 was higher than expected, and media reports have suggested that the Government was considering changing the basis for uprating benefits. In the Autumn Statement the Chancellor announced that while benefits would increase by the full CPI from April 2011, the couple and lone parent elements of Working Tax Credit would be frozen and the child element of Child Tax Credit would increase by less than was planned.
05.12.2011EEA nationals: the 'right to reside' requirement for benefits
To access most social security benefits and tax credits, a EEA national has to have a 'right to reside' in the UK. Broadly speaking, this means they must be economically active. The European Commission has stared infingement proceedings agains the UK on the basis that the test discriminates against non-UK nationals from other Member States, but the UK Government has pedged to fight any challenge.
26.08.2011Welfare Reform Bill 2010-12: Commons Report Stage and Third Reading
The Commons Report Stage and Third Reading of the Welfare Reform Bill took place on 13 and 15 June. Amendments relating to the Universal Credit, housing support, the Social Fund and the Personal Independence Payment were debated, but other groups of amendments -including those on Employment and Support Allowance changes and the benefit cap - were not discussed as proceedings on each day reached the deadlines specified in the programme motion before they could be considered.
08.06.2011Welfare Reform Bill: Committee Stage Report
This is an account of the House of Commons Committee Stage of the Welfare Reform Bill. It complements Research Papers 11/23 and 11/24, prepared for the Commons Second Reading debate.
07.06.2011Benefit and tax credit recipients by local area
Latest benefit and tax credit recipient numbers by local authority, focusing on benefits affected by changes in 2010 Budget
18.05.2011The Habitual Residence Test
The Habitual Residence Test is applied to people (unless they are exempt categories) who have recently arrived in the country and who make a claim for certain means-tested social security benefits, or seek housing assistance from a local authority.
07.03.2011Welfare Reform Bill: Universal Credit provisions
The Welfare Reform Bill provides for the introduction of a 'Universal Credit' to replace a range of existing means-tested benefits and tax credits for people of working age, starting from 2013. The Bill follows the November 2010 White Paper, Universal Credit: welfare that works, which set out the Government's proposals for reforming welfare to improve work incentives, simplify the benefits system and tackle administrative complexity.
04.03.2011Welfare Reform Bill: reform of disability benefits, Housing Benefit, and other measures
This paper has been prepared for the Second Reading debate in the House of Commons. For information on the provision in the Bill relating to the introduction of Universal Credit, please see the complementary Library Research Paper, 11/24. Besides Universal Credit, the Bill proposes a number of other significant welfare reforms, including replacement of the current Disability Living Allowance, restriction of Housing Benefit entitlement to social housing tenants whose accommodation is larger than they need, time-limiting the payment of contributory Employment and Support Allowance to twelve months, and capping the total amount of benefit that can be claimed.
05.01.2011Support for Mortgage Interest: the standard rate from 1 October 2010
The Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) scheme provides help with mortgage interest payments for claimants of certain means-tested benefits. From 1 October 2010 the standard interest rate used to calculate SMI payments was cut from 6.08 per cent to 3.63 per cent. This note looks at the background to the change and at the issues it raises.
08.11.2010Housing Benefit: summary statistics for local authorities
Contains an overview of key Housing Benefit statistics for Great Britain and a table of statistics for local authorities.
12.11.2009Housing Benefit entitlement: renting from relatives
Housing Benefit entitlement: renting from relatives. By Wendy Wilson. SN/SP/3078. This note explains why people who rent from relatives are sometimes refused Housing Benefit.
03.12.2008Means-tested benefits: help with mortgage costs
Means-tested benefits: help with mortgage costs. By Steven Kennedy. SN/SP/737.
19.07.2006The Welfare Reform Bill [Bill 208 of 2005-06]
16.12.1999Social sec. war pension and National Insurance provisions in the Child Support Pensions and Social Security Bill (Bill 9 1999/2000)
Social security, war pension and National Insurance provisions in the Child Support Pensions and Social Security Bill (Bill 9 of 1999/2000). House of Commons Library Research Paper 99/108.
22.06.1998Rent levels affordability and housing benefit
Rent levels, affordability and housing benefit. House of Commons Library Research Paper 98/69.