§ Mr. Purchase
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister further to HB/CTB circular S9/2003 paragraphs 46–51, whether he is planning any consultation with local authorities on the ways in which the Transitional Protection Scheme will operate in 2004–05 and 2005–06; if he will provide exemplifications to local authorities before 1 January 2004 setting out the potential financial implications for 2004–05 and 2005–06 at an individual authority level of the transitional protection scheme; and what guidance the Government will be providing to individual local authorities. 
§ Mr. Pond
I have been asked to reply.
Local authority representatives have been consulted, as part of the wider review of subsidy, on the operation of transitional protection in 2004–05 and 2005–06.
Transitional protection will limit the impact of the change in the housing benefit/council tax benefit subsidy regime from April 2004. The financial implications will not be known until authorities have their subsidy claims audited, after the end of the year. It will then be possible to compare the difference in subsidy under the old and new subsidy regimes.
HB/CTB circular S9/2003, a copy of which is available in the Library, gave an outline of the new subsidy scheme. Further guidance for authorities on how the transitional protection scheme will operate will 726W be provided in the near future. This will provide further advice and information which will enable authorities to estimate possible gains/losses under the new subsidy system and consequently whether they may be affected by the transitional protection arrangements.