Kate Forbes MSP has highlighted the millions being spent on mitigating Tory welfare cuts by the Scottish Government, after new figures revealed that a total of over £2million was paid to people in the Highlands under the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme
In the Highlands, over 5,600 people in receipt of housing benefit or universal credit were given additional assistance towards housing costs by the Scottish Government. A massive £1.4m was spent solely on mitigating the Tories hated Bedroom Tax in the region during the period 1 April to 30 September 2018.
The Discretionary Housing Payment scheme provides financial assistance towards housing costs for those claiming housing benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit.
Between April and September, local Authorities in Scotland made a total 100,635 awards under the DHP Scheme, with a total value of £56.9 million.
Kate Forbes MSP said: “These figures are really important in light of the unseen poverty in the Highlands and Islands.
“In an area where costs are higher and rurality adds another burden on families, it is important that we protect people from the very worst impacts of UK Government welfare reform.
“I believe that the welfare system should treat people with respect and dignity, and housing is one area where that is absolutely critical.”
The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch continued: “Most welfare powers remain reserved and so it shouldn’t fall to the Scottish Government to mitigate the impact of damaging policies like the bedroom tax – but we know that providing a lifeline for families and individuals who are struggling to make ends meet is the right thing to do.
“Behind closed doors, some families in the Highlands have very difficult decisions to make between heating, eating or anything else.
“I see some of them in my constituency office, worried and concerned about their kids, their arrears or their future. It is important that the welfare state protects the most vulnerable.”