One-year backlog on housing benefit claims
The situation is revealed today after an 18-month study by the Audit Commission which says that two out of three local authorities fail to administer benefit claims efficiently.
Andrew Foster, controller of the independent watchdog, said yesterday: 'People know we are on to something extremely worrying. The people claiming this money are some of the most poor and underprivileged in society.'
Mr Foster said that up to 25 per cent of local authorities were significantly under-performing 'and at the bottom end we found sacks of mail left unopened for a year'. Only one-third of councils administer benefits properly, efficiently and effectively, the report says.
Housing benefit is a financial lifeline for many people. A majority of people living in rented accommodation get housing benefit. Most of these are council tenants but nearly 1 million private tenants also receive benefits. In addition, there are about 6 million community charge benefit claims at any one moment. It all adds up to about pounds 6bn of public money.
The report also criticises central government. Since 1982, there have been eight major benefits changes, with legislation repeatedly altered - introducing even more complexity into the system.
The Government contributes 95 per cent of the cost of benefits paid, but only one-third of the cost of administration. This also leads to tensions in the system.
Remote control: the National Administration of Housing Benefit: HMSO; pounds 8.50
Geoffrey Macnab reviews American Hustle, also starring Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper
Michelle Nijhuis' daughter insists (s)he is, and she learnt a valuable lesson on gender in books
news Opponents claim it would stop performers such as Beyonce and Madonna appearing on TV
It takes a platoon of chefs, litres of brandy and rum, and almost 100kg of dried fruit
Jennifer Lawrence: 'It should be illegal to call someone fat on TV'
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Paul Walker death caused by speed alone
DNA from a 50,000 year old toe shows Neanderthals were highly inbred
Devyani Khobragade: India-US row escalates over arrest of diplomat in New York
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 4 Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
- < Previous
- Next >
£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: QA .NET Agile UNIX LIN...
£35000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: C# ASP.NET SQL Develop...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET SQL Developer (Software Developer, Softw...
£500 - £650 per day: Harrington Starr: Excellent opportunity for Murex Subject...