§ Mr. Coleman
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what analysis his Department has made of the likely scale of the gap between the actual rent paid and the proposed standard local housing allowance for larger family units of accommodation; 
(2) what analysis his Department has made of the likely scale of the gap between the relevant average rent and the relevant standard local housing allowance, broken down by local authority area. 
§ Mr. Andrew Smith
The available information is in the table.
Estimated median differences between rents referred to the rent officer and the standard local housing allowance in Pathfinder areas, based on the latest available local reference rents.
£ Pathfinder authority All properties1 Properties with three rooms or more1 Blackpool 8.20 10.90 Brighton and Hove -5.40 2.70 Conwy 0.00 0.00 Coventry -4.90 -6.30 Edinburgh 0.00 0.00 Leeds 4.10 3.80 Lewisham 0.00 5.50 Middlesbrough -2.20 -7.10 North East Lincolnshire 4.90 1.60 Teignbridge 1.90 2.50 1 A positive median difference indicates that the rent referred to the rent officer is higher than the relevant standard local housing allowance.
1. Properties with three or more rooms (excluding kitchens, bathrooms and toilets) are shown as a proxy for larger family units or accommodation. However, ever, no information is collected on the type or size of household living in each property, so the figures may also include multiple adult households and house-sharers.
2. Referrals where there is under-occupation (where a property is larger than the tenant qualifies for under the size criteria) have been excluded.
3. Median gaps are uprated to 2003–04 prices and rounded to the nearest 10p.
4. The Rent Officer data relate to all referrals made over a year. They will differ from the Housing Benefit caseload in that some claims will not be successful (for example, because the person's income is too high) and because some people may claim more of ten than others (for example, because they move house, or leave and then return to benefit). The figures will therefore over-represent short duration claims.
5. The estimates do not take account of any effect on behaviour caused by the SLHA scheme. E.g. some people may currently sign up for tenancies which are much more expensive than the local reference rent, since they do not know how the rules work and are unable to find out how much rent HB will pay for. But one of the main objectives of the Pathfinders is to make tenants aware of their budget in advance.
6. Local reference rents can change over time, depending on the rent officer's judgment about the local housing market. Local reference rent figures from 2000–01 (the latest currently available) may not give an accurate prediction of SLHAs in 2003–04.
7. The median differences between actual rents and local reference rents (LRRs) vary across the pathfinders depending on the impact of LRRs. Variations in median differences may be due to the type of area and availability of accommodation and will also depend on the calculation of the LRR and the judgment of Rent Officers as to the relevant local housing market.
April 2000 to March 2001 Rent Officer data (England and Wales), 2001 Scottish Rent Officer data.