Welfare to Work

– Scotland struggles to support its social tenants

Report highlights how Scottish tenants would struggle under welfare reforms

A briefing paper prepared by the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA)  and sent to the Scottish Lords, explains that the welfare reform bill would lead to tenants falling into arrears as a result of the housing benefit changes which would make tenants pay for under occupancy.

The SFHA have reported that more than 42,000 tenants could be affected with a potential net loss of up to £24.5m in benefits. However, due to the lack of available smaller properties in Scotland, tenants have no alternative. The figures show that 62% of all housing association or co-operative tenants need only one bedroom, yet only 34% of residences have just one bedroom.

There are also concerns about other potential reforms such as paying housing benefit directly to the tenants rather than the landlords, and the plan for the universal credit system to cap benefits to working-age households. The SFHA say that the latter would affect 1,700 housing association and cooperative tenants in Scotland.

Maureen Watson, policy and strategy director at the SFHA  says “although the numbers affected are low, the losses are significant at an average of £66-£93 a week,”

The research by the federation has also noted the financial difficulties of tenants at present before any cuts and found that 40% of working-age tenants on housing benefit say they are in financial difficulties. With this being the case, the impact after the reforms could be “significant” warns Watson.

For a full Guardian article on the topic click here

Website: The Guardian

Amanda Frewin

Research & Project Support

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