Extra advice and support will help those who will lose out under UK Government housing benefit cuts like the bedroom tax, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced today.
The Scottish Government is providing an extra £2.5 million to social landlords to ensure there is advice on hand for people who will lose housing benefit due to the under occupancy measures and other housing benefit changes being introduced by Westminster.
Ms Sturgeon said:
“I have made the Scottish Government’s firm opposition to the bedroom tax absolutely clear. It is a policy that will penalise some of the most vulnerable people in our society and I put the case for it to be scrapped in the strongest terms to the Deputy Prime Minister when we met in London this week.
“Sadly there appears to be indifference to this argument at Westminster, despite strong opposition from across Scotland.
“We are determined to do everything that we reasonably can to help and as part of these efforts we are making available an extra £2.5 million to social landlords to help them ensure that people affected by housing benefit changes have the advice and support they need. This is on top of the £5.4 million we have already allocated to help those affected by benefit reforms, which will go to organisations such as Citizens Advice.
“This extra support will assist social landlords in their efforts to engage directly with affected tenants and seek to identify ways in which they can deal with the impact of the changes.
“We are continuing to consider all reasonable steps that we can take to mitigate welfare cuts, including the bedroom tax. However, these unjust policies show why we need the powers of independence to protect vulnerable people rather than simply trying to cushion the blows in Scotland.
“It would be far better to control benefits and welfare so unfair policies like the bedroom tax are not even considered, let alone implemented.”
The £2.5 million will be distributed to social landlords from the financial year beginning April 2013. Details on the funding criteria and application process will be available shortly.