75% of Scotland's councils report that the bedroom tax is directly responsible for a substantial increase in rent arrears.
Subject to this, the Scottish government has slammed the coalition's welfare reforms.
“Nineteen local authorities saw a 400% rise compared to the same period last year. And by the end of May, 22% of the £10 million funds made available in Scotland for DHPs by the DWP had been allocated.”
New data collected by the Scottish government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) shows that all but one of Scotland's councils with housing stock have seen an increase in rent arrears – with three quarters holding the bedroom tax directly responsible.
Deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“There had been a “drastic increase” in the number of people applying for emergency funding to help them deal with the impact of the “UK's disastrous welfare reform programme”.
She also said:
“Local authorities across Scotland are having to deal with the appalling aftermath of the bedroom tax, which is hitting our most vulnerable citizens, including a high proportion of disabled people, extremely hard in these challenging economic times.
“The Scottish Government and COSLA have had little indication from the UK Government about how they intend to review the impact of the bedroom tax to date – even though it is clear from this research that it is driving up rent arrears and requests for emergency funds.
“That is why we have made a commitment to the people of Scotland that we will scrap the bedroom tax following a successful referendum vote next year. This will be done within a year of independence and we will have the practical arrangements in place to ensure that this happens.
“Working with our partners in local government we have provided £40 million to protect households from the 10 per cent cut in successor arrangements to Council Tax Benefit. We have also allocated funding to support people affected by the bedroom tax with an additional £7.9 million for advice and support services, of which £2.5 million is ring fenced for social landlords.
“We cannot mitigate the full impacts of the UK Government's cuts to the welfare system without full powers over welfare or access to all our resources – but we will continue to oppose the bedroom tax. It is unfair and divisive policy that hit some of our most vulnerable groups hardest, and it undermines and jeopardises the work this Government is taking forward to create a fairer, more successful, and prosperous Scotland.”
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