Discretionary Housing Payment awards reach £59m over six months
Local authorities in Scotland made 99,910 awards under the Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) scheme during the period 1 April to 30 September 2019, new figures have shown.
The DHP scheme provides financial assistance towards housing costs for those claiming housing benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit.
New Scottish Government statistics revealed that the awards had a total value of £59.1 million with an average award of £592.
Local authorities received 87,785 applications from 1 April to 30 September 2019. Each application – sometimes made in the previous financial year - can have multiple decisions attached to it. As a result, local authorities processed 103,785 determinations over the year.
These figures are likely to include a sizeable number of cases affected by the ‘bedroom tax’, where local authorities have continued to make up the shortfall in tenants’ weekly rent through the use of DHPs.
Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “Shelter Scotland welcomes the support for struggling families provided by Scottish Government to off-set the bedroom tax and meet other housing costs.
“The average payment to a household in need is £592. That’s a huge amount for people who are struggling to make ends meet and without discretionary housing payments they would surely face significant hardship.
“Ending the Bedroom Tax would save the public purse in Scotland more than £50 million a year.”