A GOVERNMENT minister praised hard-working staff in Huddersfield who have cleared a huge backlog of benefits claims.
Work and Pensions Minister Chris Pond said they had done a tremendous job.
He paid tribute when he toured Kirklees Council's town centre revenues and benefits section.
A massive build-up of 44,000 claims has been virtually eliminated in two years.
The minister said: "We were very concerned some years ago that the service was clearly not performing well.
"It matters because if housing benefit is not properly administered it really does have an impact on people's lives.
"What I have seen today is impressive in terms of the improvements that have been made in clearing backlogs and processing claims promptly."
He saw hi-tech equipment brought into the High Street offices to speed up work.
Mr Pond said he was impressed with the investment and resources made available.
He said: "Benefits has been the Cinderella of local government, but here it has been given the status it deserves."
Jane Brady, head of revenues and benefits, said staff had worked tremendously hard.
"While we have come a long way, we know that there are still improvements we want to make.
"Our aim is to provide the best service that we can for the people of Kirklees," she said.
Clr Gordon Beever, council cabinet member responsible for finance, said: "The backlog has gone. The figures are the proof of the pudding."