Mr. William O'Brien
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what protection is afforded to people who lose social security benefits because of a change in legislation. 
§ Mr. Burt
When there is a change in legislation affecting people already in receipt of a specific social security benefit, the extent to which, if at all, transitional protection arrangements will be required depends on a number of circumstances, including the purpose and nature of the benefit in question, the likely needs of those in receipt of it who may be affected by the change, and what other help is available to meet those needs. Consequently, protection may not be available for every beneficiary against all changes. Where protection is given sometimes it is for rights or concessions awarded to existing claimants, and sometimes for existing amounts of money paid to them. Protection against the effect of a change in legislation can also be offered by means of a lengthy period of introduction of the new rules, or by announcement of the change many months ahead of the date on which it is due to come into effect.
For such changes in the law there are procedures for consultation with the Social Security Advisory Committee—and, where appropriate, with the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council or Disability Living Allowance 324W Advisory Board—and, concerning housing benefit and council tax benefits, with organisations representing the local authorities.
Mr. William O'Brien
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what provision will be made on the proposed social security legislation to protect claimants who have made their plans on the basis of the benefit they would have received under the existing legislation. 
§ Mr. Burt
The need for transitional protection is considered in accordance with the individual circumstances of proposed policy changes. In announcing proposals on 29 November, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State made it clear that the proposal to limit housing benefit for some people under 25 living in private rented accommodation will not affect those in receipt of housing benefit prior to January 1996, which is 92 per cent. of the total, unless they change their address or have a break in entitlement of more than four weeks. Also, those who make a new claim between 2 January 1996 and 7 October 1996 will not be affected by the new rules until the date of the first review of their claim after 7 October 1996. The announcement of the proposal to bring the mobility component of disability living allowance into line with similar benefits which are withdrawn during hospital stays also made it clear that those who have been in hospital for 12 months or more, for example, will continue to receive the mobility component at an amount equivalent to the lower rate. Also mobility agreements, for a car or wheelchair, funded by the mobility component of disability living allowance, which are current when a person enters hospital will continue for the full term of the agreement.