§ Mr. Alton
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, in view of the fact that a major portion of the £61 million (1978–79) owed to local authorities in rent arrears was due to tenants not paying the rent allowance for which the State had provided, if he will arrange for his Department to pay automatically the rent of council tenants in receipt of supplementary benefit direct to the local housing authority.
§ Mrs. Chalker
No. There is no evidence that a major part of local authority rent arrears is attributable to default by supplementary benefit claimants. Rent may be paid direct to a landlord where a claimant defaults; there were 91,000 such cases in November 1979. It is important not to remove responsibility from the tenant unnecessarily.