§ Mr. Stanley
I beg to move amendment No. 194, in page 77, line 8, at end insert—' (6) In section 22 of the 1972 Act (permitted totals of rent rebates and allowances) after subsection (1) there are inserted the following subsections—(1A)The Secretary of State may, on application by an authority, direct that the authority's permitted total of rebates or allowances for such period as may be specified in the direction shall be such proportion of their standard amount of rent rebates or, as the case may be, standard amount of rent allowances, greater than 110 per cent., as may be specified in the direction.(1B) Any direction given under subsection (1A) above may be made conditional upon compliance by the authority concerned with such conditions as may be specified in the direction.".The purpose of the amendment is to provide a means of ensuring that no tenant need face a reduction in rent rebate or allowance as a result of the operation of clause 111. When councils are relieved by the clause of the obligation to reimburse the DHSS for rebates and allowances paid through supplementary benefit, the amount reimbursed will cease to be part of the standard amount of rebates and allowances paid by authorities.
Since councils are permitted to make discretionary additions of up to 10 per cent. of standard amounts, the side effect of the clause, unamended, would be to reduce their scope for such a discretion. The majority of councils will not be affected, but in a few cases—I believe probably only 10 or 12—councils would have to reduce their discretionary payments in order to stay within the 10 per cent.
I, therefore, think it right to provide a power to increase the permitted discretion in such cases. It would be the intention to use the power if, when the clause comes into force, tenants would otherwise face a reduction in rebate or allowance below their entitlement under local authority schemes as these now exist. This will, I hope, satisfactorily solve a problem that has been put to me on behalf of certain councils, and I hope that the House will accept the amendment.
§ Amendment agreed to.