§ Mr. Michael Brown
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has any plans to make social security payments direct to local authorities for council house rents where such payments are intended to cover the rent; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mrs. Chalker
This is already the practice in the small minority of cases where262W the tenant persistently fails to pay his rent. To extend it to other tenants on supplementary benefit would be not only an unwarranted interference in the individual's right to look after his affairs, but a misuse of scarce staff resources in the Department.
To remove some of the responsibility from an individual for looking after his own and his family's affairs where he is perfectly able to do so further encourages State dependence and a greater diminution of responsibility.