7,000 extra households had bedroom tax help in December
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Communities, Housing
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Nearly 7,000 Scottish households hit by the bedroom tax claimed emergency housing help during December 2013, a new official report has revealed.
The report shows that £18.6 million was awarded in discretionary housing payments (DHPs) over a nine-month period in 2013 to around 53,000 Scottish households.
And while only around £4m was paid out in the whole of 2012/13 (April to April), £3.2m was paid out in December 2013 alone.
The Scottish government contributed an extra £20m to the DHP fund in 2013/14 – the maximum permitted under UK legislation - to help people affected by the bedroom tax, bringing the current funding amount to over £36m. The average DHP awarded was £350.
Scottish welfare minister Margaret Burgess said: “We have already topped up Discretionary Housing Payments to the maximum amount that Westminster legislation allows to help people struggling with the bedroom tax.
“But we know that this is not enough to help everyone. We know that demand for housing help is increasing. An additional 7,000 households needed help during December when compared to our figures for November. In 2012/13 only £4mn was allocated for DHPs – these figures show that local authorities have awarded over £14m more than this in just nine months, including £3.2m during December alone.
“These figures show the impact the bedroom tax is having in Scotland. We can work to mitigate its effects but the only way to scrap it for good is through the powers of an independent Scottish parliament.
“We have the choice of two futures – one where Scotland continues to pay the price of Westminster’s welfare reforms, and one where we have control to set up a welfare system that suits our needs.”