Extra Cash For Struggling Families

UK Tory Government cuts to benefits and rising costs are hitting families hard. The Scottish Government has announced  £8.6 million in direct support for people affected by the UK benefit cap.

The money will be available through  the local council’s Discretionary Housing Payments scheme.

£millions are being spent in Scotland mitigating the effects of Tory cuts on Scots out of the limited Scottish Government budget.

Commenting on the Scottish Government additional support to families John Dickie, Chair of the Child Poverty Action Group, said:

“Mitigating the UK benefit cap is absolutely the right thing to do. Support for struggling families shouldn’t have an arbitrary limit that pushes children into deeper poverty.

“It’s now vital that everyone affected by the benefit cap applies to their local authority for a Discretionary Housing Payment to replace as far as possible the cash support removed by the cap. The Scottish Government has done the right thing, now the UK Government must act to scrap the cap altogether.”

Orkney Islands Council

Discretionary Housing Payments (or DHPs) are stand-alone payments to help recipients of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (that includes a housing element towards rental liability) who are in need of further assistance with their housing costs.

Payments are made at the discretion of the Council.

The Government has provided the Council with sufficient funding to ensure that a DHP award can be made to all tenants who are affected by the Universal Credit and Housing Benefit under-occupancy reductions (sometimes known as the size criteria or bedroom tax). Tenants affected by the reductions should ensure that they apply.

Funding for benefit cap mitigation by Scottish local authorities through Discretionary Housing Payments is as follows:

2022-23£2.6 million
2023-24£6 million
Total£8.6 million

 A Discretionary Housing Payment can be made if you:

  • claim Housing Benefit but it doesn’t cover all your rent
  • claim Universal Credit but still can’t afford your housing costs
  • need help with removal costs
  • need help with a rent deposit

Click on this link for information and advice on the Cost of Living in Scotland: Help during the cost of living crisis

Social Justice Secretary in the Scottish Government Shona Robison said:

“We are increasing funding to help bridge the gap between what people need in benefits from the UK Government and what they actually receive. Eligible households could be £2,500 better off on average per year as a result.

“We will spend up to £84 million in 2023-24 on Discretionary Housing Payments to mitigate not only the UK Government’s bedroom tax and the on-going freeze to Local Housing Allowance rates, but now also the benefit cap which is pushing families into hardship.

“Our child poverty targets are ambitious and that is why we are choosing to invest significantly more in social security than the funding we receive from Westminster and helping to mitigate the damaging impact of UK Government welfare cuts.”

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