Government sharpens axe over housing benefit abolition plan

1 Jul 99
Social Security Secretary Alistair Darling did little this week to dampen speculation that housing benefit faces abolition in a bid to cut down on massive levels of fraud.

02 July 1999

A front-page story in the Daily Mail on Monday predicted the demise of the benefit, which is paid to 4.5 million people a year at a cost of £11.2bn.

The current local authority-administered system would be replaced by housing tax credits through central government.

'The present housing benefit system can't continue – it needs to be reformed,' Darling said. 'The case for change is overwhelming.'

New Labour dislikes housing benefit because it sees it as a disincentive for many to find work and because it is often the victim of fraudulent claims. It is estimated that housing benefit fraud costs the country £840m a year.

Confirmation of the abolition of housing benefit could be included in the green paper on housing due later this year.


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