BEDROOM TAX LEADS TO EMERGENCY PAYMENTS INCREASE

Figures released by the Scottish Government show an alarming increase in emergency housing help as a result of Westminster’s unfair welfare cuts that continue to hit the least well off the hardest.

The latest figures show that between April and November last year – households in Dumfries and Galloway claimed over £740’000 of emergency help from the Scottish Government as a result of the Bedroom tax and Westminster cuts to welfare provision.

Across Scotland Over £15,365,860 of emergency help was given, a massive increase from the £4m claimed in 2012/13.

The Scottish Government has provided an additional £20 million to Discretionary Housing Payments to increase the fund to its legal limit of £35 million.

Statistics published last week also revealed that nearly 80,000 of grants were provided to those in need through the Scottish Welfare Fund. The £33 million fund was established in April and provides support to the disabled, elderly, lone parents and other vulnerable groups. By the end of December more than 79,000 grants had been made from the fund.

South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine said:

“Today’s Scottish Government figures show that more hard-pressed households than ever are having to seek help in order to keep a roof over their head. Westminster’s cruel and unfair Bedroom Tax has a lot to answer for.

“The Scottish Government is providing vital support for those hit by Bedroom Tax, with an additional £20m in each of the next two years. Overall, £35m is being provided this year – the maximum amount of funding allowed under UK legislation.

“However, the fact remains that this policy is imposed on Scotland, despite over 90 per cent of Scottish MPs voting against it.

“Labour had the chance to abolish it but 10 of their Scottish MPs failed to turn up to vote against it in the House of Commons last November.

“With independence, we can scrap the Bedroom Tax. As Scotland’s Future makes clear, an SNP Government in an independent Scotland will abolish the hated tax as a matter of urgency.

“Only an independent Scottish Parliament with full powers over welfare will allow us to create a fairer welfare system that helps support the least well-off.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

Scottish Government figures on Discretionary Housing Payments are available here: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/-Bedroom-Tax-help-86e.aspx

The Scotland’s Future document states on p12 that an SNP Government in an independent Scotland will abolish the Bedroom Tax: http://82.113.138.107/00439021.pdf

On 12/11/2013, Labour failed to turn up to a House of Commons vote which could have scrapped the Bedroom Tax: http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2013/nov/labour-must-explain-bedroom-tax-no-show

 

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