Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Twelfth Report


Memorandum from the Department for Work and Pensions


1. The Committee has requested a Memorandum on the following point:

Given that the Housing Benefit (General) Regulations 1987 and the Council Tax Benefit (General) Regulations 1992 have been amended on numerous occasions, indicate when a consolidation of each of those Regulations may be expected.

2. Work on consolidation of the Housing Benefit (General) Regulations 1987 and the Council Tax Benefit (General) Regulations 1992 began in 2000 but has been deferred pending very substantial changes in both sets of Regulations which are to be made, and further changes which are proposed to be made, during 2003. Principally, these are changes occasioned by the Tax Credits Act 2002 (for April 2003), the expiry of the "temporary housing benefit scheme" introduced by the Housing Benefit (General) Amendment (No.3) Regulations 1999 (S.I.1999/2734) (for April 2003) and the State Pension Credit Act 2002 (for April and October 2003). In addition, there are proposals to overhaul the provisions by reference to which maximum housing benefit is determined, and to abolish benefit periods for housing benefit and council tax benefit, in relation to which drafts of substantial amending instruments are currently being prepared for consultation.

3. Most of these changes are expected to take effect between now and the autumn of 2003, and it has not seemed sensible to bring into force consolidations of the 1987 or 1992 Regulations until the relevant new provisions are in place. However, the Department attaches a high priority to both consolidation exercises, on which work will resume shortly with the intention that the consolidated instruments should be made before the end of 2003.

17 February 2003

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