Citizens Advice Scotland has welcomed the announcement that the UK Government has offered to transfer the power to set the cap on Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) to the Scottish Government.
The move will enable the £12 million additional funding the Scottish Government committed in its Budget to be spent on assisting Scots affected by the Bedroom Tax. Up to now it has been unable to do so because of a cap on how much local authorities can spend on DHP – payments to tenants who have been affected by housing benefit changes.
CAS Policy Manager Keith Dryburgh says:
“Our evidence has shown that the Bedroom Tax has had a devastating impact on people in Scotland, including some of the most vulnerable groups in our society.In February we wrote to the UK Government to ask them to lift the cap and allow the money committed by the Scottish Government to be spent, so we warmly welcome today’s announcement, which has the potential to help thousands of Scots who have been hit by this unfair policy.
"It’s now important that the Scottish Government and local authorities work to ensure that clear, consistent and accessible processes are in place to ensure that everyone affected by the Bedroom Tax is able to get support, and the funds are spent to fully mitigate the effects of this policy.”
- In the first 9 months of the Bedroom Tax (April-Dec 2013), Scottish CAB advisers dealt with 2,830 issues related to the changes.
- In roughly the same period, local authority rent arrears issues increased by 34% and Housing Association rent arrears issues increased by 47%.
- Across Scotland, an estimated 82,500 households have been affected with around two-thirds of these households containing an adult with a disability.