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Increased Budget For Housing Costs Support In Scotland - Full Devolution Of Discretionary Housing Payments From 1 April

30th March 2024

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More than £90 million will be allocated to local authorities in 2024-25 to support eligible households at risk of hardship through the Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) scheme.

The funding enables local authorities to mitigate the impact of UK Government policies such as the ‘bedroom tax' and the ‘benefit cap' which can reduce how much universal credit or housing benefit someone receives.

Payments can also be made where Local Housing Allowance doesn’t meet someone’s rent, or if a household is in hardship and struggling to meet their housing costs.

Housing Minister Paul McLennan said:, "This funding will help to bridge the gap between what people need in benefits from the UK Government, and what they actually receive. This can be the difference between a family thriving, or a family experiencing financial hardship.

"We are clear that this is the right thing to do to support households - but the Scottish Government should not be forced to step in and divert money from our own housing and anti-poverty policies because of UK Government welfare reforms."

One Parent Families Scotland CEO Satwat Rehman said, "The Scottish Government is to be commended for taking these mitigating measures as we recognise it continues to spend massive sums compensating for welfare cuts made by the UK government.

"Mitigating the benefit cap is absolutely the right thing to do. The increased funding and improved support for families affected by the benefit cap will be greatly welcomed by the many single parents who have been pushed into further hardship by this policy. 74% of all capped households in Scotland consist of single parents with children (92% of whom are women).

“We at OPFS will do everything we can to ensure all single parent families affected by the benefit cap apply to their local authority for a Discretionary Housing Payment to replace the vital income they should have received. Now the UK Government must act to scrap this poverty creating benefit cap altogether."

The Scottish Discretionary Housing Payments budget is £90.5 million in 2024-25. The scheme will come under full Scottish Government control from 1 April 2024.

In Scotland, if you rent your home and you get Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, but still can't afford your housing costs, you may be eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

A Discretionary Housing Payment can be made if you:

are affected by the benefit cap
are affected by the bedroom tax
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