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The Work and Pensions Committee have announced an inquiry into “Local Housing Allowance”  The Committee welcomes submissions, in accordance with the guidelines set out below, with reference to areas such as:

• The objectives of LHA and whether they are met in practice;

• Whether LHA is understood by claimants and landlords;

• The impact of direct payments to claimants on both claimants and landlords;

• Whether adequate and consistent mechanisms/processes are in place to help Housing Benefit Departments identify and assess vulnerable claimants;

• The boundaries and rent officer regulations which underpin  Broad Rental Market Areas (BRMAs) and their impact on LHA rates and access to affordable rental properties for claimants in all communities including access to transport and work;

• Whether LHA incentivises landlords to raise their rents to the BRMA median rate;

• The £15 excess entitlement policy and the potential impact of its removal;

• The 5 bedroom cap, and;

• Whether advice services have the capacity to adequately support LHA claimants.

The Committee seeks written contributions on this issue from interested organisations and individuals. The deadline for written evidence is Monday 16 November 2009. Oral evidence sessions will take in the autumn.

Please note

Each submission should:

• begin with a short summary in bullet point form;

• have numbered paragraphs; and

• be in Word format with no use of colour/logos.

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to and marked ‘Local Housing Allowance’.  If you do not have access to email, a paper copy should be sent to:

Work and Pensions Select Committee, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA.

It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at:

Please also note that:

• Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.

• Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless specifically authorised.

• Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Record Office.  If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.