Margaret Burgess MSP this week highlighted additional funding being made available by the SNP Scottish Government to mitigate the worst effects of the UK Government-imposed Bedroom Tax
Mrs Burgess is urging
local tenants to apply for financial help from North Ayrshire Council,
which will receive extra funding from the Scottish Government to make
available more Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs).
MSP says constituents who have lost out on Housing Benefit because of
the Bedroom Tax should now be able to seek compensation through a DHP.
MSP for Cunninghame South explained that the SNP Government had
persuaded the London-based Tory-Lib Dem Government to raise the cap on
the funding that could be made available to cover the cost of
Discretionary Housing Payments. Under the current constitutional
settlement, Welfare and Benefits remain controlled by the UK Government.
Burgess said, “The UK Government will now transfer to the Scottish
Government the power to lift the cap, meaning that the Scottish
Government can invest a total of £50 million this year to help the
72,000 Scottish households who are suffering from the effects of the
Bedroom Tax, including many local people.”
As the Scottish
Government’s Minister for Housing, Margaret Burgess has been at the
centre of work aimed at easing the pain suffered by tenants affected by
the Bedroom Tax, which reduces much-needed Housing Benefit if a home is
deemed to have more bedrooms than residents need. However, while
welcoming the ability to increase help to those being hammered by the
Westminster cuts, Mrs Burgess points out that the current limited powers
of the devolved Scottish Parliament mean that it does not have the
power to abolish the Bedroom Tax.
Margaret Burgess said, “The
clear message to tenants is this: if you are being affected by the
Bedroom Tax, help is available - but you need to apply for it. You must
engage with your landlord and apply for a DHP as soon as possible to
enable you to pay the shortfall in your rent, and you should do so even
if you have been refused a DHP in the past.”
The SNP MSP noted,
“Nothing better confirms the need for our Scottish Parliament to have
the full powers of independence than the scandal of the Bedroom Tax.
With full powers over welfare and taxation, the Scottish Government
would abolish the Bedroom Tax.”