Nigel Mills MP calls for improvements in Discretionary Housing Payments for Under-Occupancy Penalty

On 28th January, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson answered an Urgent Question following the Court of Appeal ruling on the Under-Occupancy Penalty. Following this, I called on the Government to encourage councils to award longer discretionary housing awards, which are part of a £870million fund to support those who need extra support to pay their rent following the removal of the spare bedroom subsidy.

Local Councils are able to award discretionary housing payments to families who need this extra support to pay their rent, as they are best placed to assess people’s need and identify where extra support is needed. However, I can see that more could be done to give people more certainty as a longer award of this payment will give people more certainty about being able to afford their rent.

I was pleased by the Minister’s response as I am reassured that the Government is looking at how to encourage local authorities to apply more common sense in this area. I will continue to raise this matter in Parliament to ensure those in my constituency who need this extra support are given more certainty and security in getting the support they need.

You can read my exchange with the Minister below and you can also read his full statement here.

Nigel Mills, MP for Amber Valley:

Can the Government do more to encourage and enable councils to give longer discretionary housing awards, so that those claiming them will have more certainty that they can afford their rent?

Justin Tomlinson, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Disabled People:

My hon. Friend makes an important point. We are looking to encourage that and to allow more common sense to be applied.