SFHA ‘concerned’ over social security bill’s tenancy sustainment capabilities

Jeremy Hewer
Jeremy Hewer

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has accused the Social Security (Scotland) Bill of saying little about the powers the Scottish Government could exercise that would assist tenants who need help to sustain their tenancy.

In its submission to the Social Security Committee consultation on the bill, which outlines how the Scottish Government intends to use the benefits that have been devolved to it as part of the Scotland Act, the SFHA has called on the Scottish Government to not dilute its social security ambitions.

Jeremy Hewer, SFHA policy adviser, said: “We have asked that the Scottish Government ensures any recipients in receipt of Discretionary Housing Payments are seen as and treated as part of the ‘Scottish social security system’.

“We also want to see the Scottish Government use its capacity effectively to abolish the ‘bedroom tax’ and to exercise powers to vary Local Housing Allowance rates, eligible rent rates and the level of non-dependent deductions.

“We want to see local authorities given a duty to provide a Discretionary Housing Payment scheme, and we urgently need to see proposals from the Scottish Government on the use of top-up payments.

“There is a growing body of evidence that Universal Credit is not performing as it should. The DWP is intent on rolling it out regardless – despite calls from organisations with direct experience of the problems caused by the system, asking for the roll-out to be paused whilst solutions are put in place. In the absence of a pause, there will be a pressing need to mitigate Universal Credit’s more detrimental consequences.”

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