Mitigating the Worst of Tory Austerity

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Delivering for Scotland #46: No Bedroom Tax

The SNP has acted to ensure that no one should be left in a position where they cannot access support to pay their rent. As well as through the new Tenant Hardship Loan Fund introduced new last autumn, this is being achieved by further increasing Scottish Government funding for Discretionary Housing Payments.

The Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) fund helps tenants in receipt of benefits. It is an important investment from the SNP Scottish Government, used by councils to safeguard tenancies and prevent homelessness – providing a lifeline for anyone struggling to meet housing costs.

DHP largely goes towards mitigating, in full, the callous Tory Bedroom Tax – which the SNP has pledged to abolish completely when we have the powers to do so. Spend is estimated at around £82 million in 2021/22, including £71 million for this purpose – protecting over 70,000 Scottish households from facing the hated charge.

This SNP government action is critical in helping these households to sustain their tenancies. An additional £10.9 million mitigates against other UK Government welfare cuts, including the benefit cap and changes to the Local Housing Allowance rates.

This is partly with the crisis grants offered through the Scottish Welfare Fund. All this means that, overall, the Scottish Government is having to spend more than £100 million each year to mitigate the effects of UK Government austerity.

While it is vitally important to do so, the SNP is firmly of the view that it should not be necessary – that this money could be better spent on more proactive anti-poverty measures along the lines of the ‘game-changing’ new Scottish Child Payment, for example. There is no doubt that, without the cuts inflicted on families by the UK Government, SNP Government funding could go so much further.