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Brentwood Borough Council

FOI 7619

Cost To The Council Due To Under Occupancy Policy

Request

This is a Freedom of Information request regarding the additional costs incurred by your Council as a result of the housing benefit change known as the under-occupancy policy (otherwise referred to as the removal of the spare room subsidy, or size criteria policy).

1. How much money has your council applied for in order to top up the Discretionary Housing Payment fund from:

a) the Department of Communities and Local Government for permission to transfer money from your Housing Revenue Account to the DHP fund and,

b) the Department for Work and Pensions for any of the additional DHP funds set out in the Department’s circular HB U4/2013,30 July 2013: i) as part of the £5 million for isolated rural areas, ii) as part of the £20 million available for all LAs to submit bids for,

and if so, how much have you been granted?

2. How:

a) many new staff has your council hired, or diverted from other activities

b) much extra funding have you allocated to deal with housing benefit issues as a result of the under occupancy (or if it is too difficult to isolate, as a result of all welfare reform in 2013 compared to 2012) such as:

i) advice services,

ii) arrears collection,

iii) DHP processing,

iv) House swap facilitation

v) Any other – please give details.

3. How many disabled tenants living in adapted properties in your area: a) are affected by the under occupancy policy, b) have expressed a desire to move, and c) how many have moved at what cost?

Response

The information held by the Revenue and Benefits Department is given below:-

1. How much money has your council applied for in order to top up the Discretionary Housing Payment fund from:

a) the Department of Communities and Local Government for permission to transfer money from your Housing Revenue Account to the DHP fund and,

None

b) the Department for Work and Pensions for any of the additional DHP funds set out in the Department's circular HB U4/2013,30 July 2013: i) as part of the £5 million for isolated rural areas, ii) as part of the £20 million available for all LAs to submit bids for,

None

and if so, how much have you been granted?



2. How:

a) many new staff has your council hired, or diverted from other activities

0.5

b) much extra funding have you allocated


to deal with housing benefit issues as a result of the under occupancy (or if it is too difficult to isolate, as a result of all welfare reform in 2013 compared to 2012) such as:


i) advice services, None

ii) arrears collection, None

iii) DHP processing, £5,000

iv) House swap facilitation

v) Any other - please give details.



3. How many disabled tenants living in adapted properties in your area: a) are affected by the under occupancy policy, b) have expressed a desire to move, and c) how many have moved at what cost?

The remainder of the information concerned will be provided by the Housing Department, who will be contacting you separately