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Housing Benefit: Great Britain in Comparative Perspective

PFM, Vol. 6 No. 1, (2006)

Britain has a relatively unusual housing allowance scheme compared with those in many other countries. It is also one that has experienced many problems and attracted much criticism. The Labour Government is currently introducing a radical reform of the scheme, which aims to tackle its many problems. The purpose of this article is to consider the British scheme and its planned replacement in comparative perspective. It is argued that, although the new scheme will tackle some of the design faults of the current scheme, other difficulties will be left untouched and important problems with the administration of housing benefit will therefore remain. The new scheme will also be unusual by comparison with housing allowances in other countries, but in a different way from the scheme it is due to replace.

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