Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick has criticised the UK Government’s spend on Discretionary Housing Payments, highlighting that the total spend in England and Wales is only slightly more than what is spent in Scotland, where it is estimated over £71 million is being spent annually to mitigate the Tories’ Bedroom Tax.
The SNP MSP questioned the Cabinet Secretary for Housing, Shona Robison, on whether this was fair, pointing out that Scotland is creating policy with its hands tied, saying:
“Recent figures from the UK Government on equivalent Discretionary Housing Payments in England and Wales show that, remarkably, their total spend adds up to only slightly more than the payments made in Scotland.
“The failure of the UK Tory Government in addressing the cost of living and housing crises forces Scotland to create policy with our hands tied.
“In the Highlands alone, an estimated £2.4 million was needed to fully mitigate the bedroom tax in 2021-22. If the Tories would only do the right thing and ditch that policy, we could spend that money on so many better things.
“Scotland is forced to spend a proportionately enormous sum offsetting regressive Tory policies like the Bedroom Tax, but we could be using those funds to actively and progressively build a fairer, greener country.”
The Cabinet Secretary agreed with Emma Roddick, adding that this demonstrated the UK’s welfare policies are “not fit for purpose” and stating:
“If we didn’t have to mitigate UK government policies imposed on us we could further invest in measures to tackle the priorities of this Parliament, including poverty.
“I would appeal again for the UK Government to get rid of the Bedroom Tax at source.”