Anne Main – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Work and Pensions

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Anne Main on 2014-04-03.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much local authorities in (a) St Albans, (b) Hertfordshire, (c) the East of England and (d) the UK have returned to his Department in unused discretionary housing payment funding since 2011; and what steps he is taking to ensure that such funds are targeted towards those most in need.

Esther McVey

The Department has responsibility for the funding of Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) in Great Britain, but not the UK. The table below shows the amounts of unused DHPs returned to the Department since 2011 for the respective areas. The figures for 2013/14 will be available in due course once the information has been collated from local authorities.

Local Authority Area

Under Spend since 2011

St Albans




Eastern England


Great Britain


The Department provides local authorities with a guidance manual and good practice guide to aide them in the administration of the DHP scheme. This has recently been updated following informal consultation with stakeholder groups and local authority practitioners. The new guidance encourages councils to make longer term awards where appropriate to those with ongoing needs.