Over 45,500 households given help with Bedroom Tax

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Over 45,500 hard-pressed households in Scotland have claimed £15.4 million in emergency housing help from April to November last year, figures published today show.

The figures show 45,772 households claimed £15,365,860 in the eight month period, almost a fourfold increase compared to just under £4 million in 2012/13.

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are a reserved responsibility and come under the remit of the Department of Work and Pensions. DHPs are made by Local Authorities to housing benefit claimants who qualify for support.

The Scottish Government contributed and 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.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“We have provided an extra £20 million in this financial year to help those affected by the Bedroom Tax.

“That money has enabled councils to top up their Discretionary Housing Payments to the maximum amount that Westminster legislation allows – and help hard-pressed households across Scotland.

“We are also providing a further £20 million for next year so that we can continue this vital help.

“There is no doubt that people in Scotland are paying a heavy price for Westminster decisions. But these figures show that by working closely with our Local Authority partners we have been able to provide support for over 45,500 households in Scotland.

“And we will continue to do all we can to help. However, only an independent Scottish Parliament will give us the powers we need to scrap the Bedroom Tax.

“Scotland has a choice of two futures – one in which Scotland continues to pay the price of Westminster’s welfare reforms, or one in which we have the powers to design a welfare system that suits our needs.”