Holyrood cash boost to help with bedroom tax

Bedroom Tax Demonstration in George Square, Glasgow.
Bedroom Tax Demonstration in George Square, Glasgow.

CHARITY Shelter Scotland has welcomed news of a Holyrood cash boost to local authorities aimed at helping residents struggling with housing costs.

The Scottish government announced last month that £20 million would be made available to councils to help those struggling as a result of the Welfare Reform Act 2012.

The UK-wide act introduced the so-called bedroom tax, reducing the amount of benefits paid to claimants whose houses were deemed to be under-occupied.

It has now been revealed that East Renfrewshire council will receive an extra £123,577 from the £20m pot.

Glasgow, meanwhile, has an additional allocation of £3,553,117.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “We welcome the speed at which the government have moved.

“East Renfrewshire and Glasgow city councils can now offer a lifeline to even more households struggling to pay their rent as a direct result of the iniquitous bedroom tax.

“The challenge now is for councils to act quickly and get the money to tenants to help them pay their rent.

“Shelter Scotland encourages anyone who is struggling with their rent as a result of welfare reform to apply for discretionary housing payments, and for those who applied and were turned down before, to reapply.”

According to an ERC spokesman, moves to distribute the extra allocation will be made following the next cabinet meeting.

He told The Extra: “A report will be presented, outlining options for disbursing the additional sum made available through discretionary housing payments.

“Once cabinet has reached a decision, payments will be made as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Glasgow city council said: “Official notification of receipt of the additional funds is expected to go to our executive committee in November.

“The intention is to use this cash to increase our discretionary housing payments fund to the maximum possible level and work is currently underway to decide how we can target the extra money.”