Thousands of vulnerable people in Scotland will be protected from increased Council Tax bills following the UK Government’s abolition of council tax benefit this week, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth has said.
Around 560,000 people will receive support to ensure they are not affected by the UK Government’s 10 per cent cut in funding for Council Tax Benefit successor arrangements.
The Scottish Government and local authorities in Scotland are working in partnership to invest £40 million in 2013/14 to bridge the funding gap and mitigate the impact of the UK Government’s benefit cuts.
Mr Swinney said:
“Hard working and vulnerable people are having to bear the brunt of these Westminster benefit cuts.
“Instead of protecting our poorest households, Westminster has responded to this recession by imposing deeply damaging welfare cuts which will make it far harder for people to meet the rising cost of living.
“To ensure households across Scotland do not face additional burdens the Scottish Government and Scotland’s councils are providing £40 million in 2013/14 to ensure that around 560,000 people in Scotland are protected from this reduction.
He added: “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.
“And we are providing £5.4 to organisations such as Citizens Advice to help those affected by benefit reforms. 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.
“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 abolishing Council Tax benefit are not even considered, let alone implemented.”