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05/03/17 00:01

Bedroom tax mitigation

£58 million to combat UK Government’s welfare cuts.

Almost £58 million will be spent mitigating the harmful impact of the UK Government’s welfare cuts on households across Scotland.

The £7.7 million increase in funding for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) next year comes as the Scottish Government takes full responsibility for DHP funding, including £18.5 million transferred from the Department of Work and Pensions as part of a negotiated 3 year settlement.

The £57.9 million made available to local authorities will be split as follows:

  • £47 million to fully mitigate the bedroom tax for more than 70,000 households - up from £45.4 million.
  • £10.9 million, up from £4.8 million, to help mitigate other UK Government policies such as the Benefit Cap and Local Housing Allowance rates.

Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman has written to all local authorities confirming their funding for the coming year. She said:

“We realise how damaging the UK Government’s punitive policies are, particularly the bedroom tax. That is why we have taken action to ensure DHPs are available to all affected households so no one has to pay it and we are committed to abolishing it as soon as practically possible.

“The UK Government’s ill-thought reforms target the most vulnerable in society and the money we are making available is a lifeline for those people who are already struggling to make ends meet.

“We want to protect low income families and households across Scotland which is why we have increased the funding available in the first year we have had full responsibility for Discretionary House Payments. However we would much rather be using this money to positively lift people out of poverty.

“It is abundantly clear the approach the UK Government is taking to welfare is causing real damage and pushing people into poverty. We will continue to stand up for families across Scotland fight any further damaging UK welfare changes.”

Background

Between April 2013 and March 2016, local authorities have made 321,000 DHP awards totalling £129 million.