The time taken by St Albans City and District Council to process new claims for Housing Benefit and Council Tax support has more than halved.

In January it took an average of eight days to process new claims and changes in circumstances, a significant reduction from a year ago when it took more than 20 days on average to process them.

Councillor Brian Ellis, Portfolio Holder for Housing at St Albans City and District Council, said: "New claims are now being worked on within one to seven days of receipt.

"This follows an increased investment in staffing which has helped clear an historical backlog in claims. We are also asking people to enclose all relevant documentation with their benefits applications."