North East MSP Christian
Allard has expressed his frustration at the need to mitigate policies such as the Bedroom Tax, the extent of which was
revealed by Scottish Government figures recently.
The figures show a fourfold increase in emergency housing help as a result of the UK Government’s welfare reforms which the SNP says continue to hit the least well off the hardest.
Over 45,500 households in Scotland claimed £15.4 million in emergency assistance from April to November last year. This is a increase from £4m in 2012/13.
Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are reserved to Westminster and come under the remit of the Department of Work and Pensions, but the payments themselves are made by Local Authorities to housing benefit claimants who qualify for support.
The SNP says the Scottish Government has made full use of its powers by contributing an extra £20 million to the DHP fund in 2013/14 to help those struggling most with the costs of the ‘Bedroom Tax’. This brings the total amount of funding to over £35 million – the maximum permitted under UK legislation.
Commenting, MSP for the North East region Christian Allard said: “These figures reveal the extensive damage inflicted on vulnerable communities across Scotland by the Bedroom Tax.
“An extra £20 million from the Scottish Government in 2013/14 will have come as welcome relief to those affected by Westminster’s punitive tax. But we can’t do any more with our existing powers.
“Across the North East region that I represent over £1.7 million has been delivered in Discretionary Housing Payments to vulnerable households between April and November 2013.”