Bishop of St Albans asks Government about postcode lottery in direct housing payments

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StAlbans171115On the 22nd December 2015 Baroness Lister of Burtersett asked Her Majesty’s Government “how they propose to respond to the results of the Evaluation of Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy: Final Report.” The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith asked a supplementary question.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I welcome the final report’s findings that local authorities are becoming more efficient in the allocation of direct housing payments. However, it has also revealed that there is a postcode lottery. Some local authorities are making payments to all claimants while others have imposed quite strict criteria. Does the Minister agree with me that it is important that this should be placed on an equal footing so that in whatever part of the country people live, they receive exactly the same treatment, irrespective of the locality?

Lord Freud: We have approached helping people who are hard cases through the discretionary housing payment route, which has been found sound in the courts. The reason for that is that local areas are best placed to determine how best to help people in their own areas. They are doing it in a variety of ways, but that reflects their views on how best to do it in their areas.