Discretionary Housing Payments increase ‘reveals pressure faced by Scottish households’

Graeme Brown

A 7% increase in the number of applications for financial assistance towards housing costs made by households claiming housing benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit show the increased pressure faced by households across Scotland, Shelter Scotland has warned.

New figures have revealed that local authorities in Scotland made 122,660 awards under the Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) scheme in the 12 months to March 31 with a total value of £59.2 million.

The average award during this period was £483.

Local authorities received 114,424 applications to the scheme in 2017/18. Each application – sometimes made in the previous financial year - can have multiple decisions attached to it. As a result, local authorities processed 130,024 determinations over the year.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said the figures underline the need for the continued funding of the “vital” housing support fund.

He added: “These figures show a 7% increase in the number of applications made by households across Scotland for help with their housing costs. Local authorities assessed a total of 130,024 applications from people struggling to make ends meet and keep a roof over their heads.

“These payments are a vital lifeline to families and individuals suffering housing-relating poverty as a result of harsh welfare reforms, the roll out of Universal Credit, zero-hours contracts, stagnant wages and the high cost of housing.”

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