The Scottish Government has spent nearly £400m since 2013 in an effort to alleviate Tory cuts to household incomes, new figures reveal.
The figures were revealed in response to a parliamentary question by SNP MSP Ruth Maguire, and show that £152m was spent on the Scottish Welfare Fund and £125m on Discretionary Housing Payments over the past four year period.
The Scottish Welfare Fund provides a safety net for vulnerable Scottish families, while Discretionary Housing Payments covers households affected by the UK Government’s Bedroom Tax making sure no–one has to pay. The Scottish Government has increased funding in 17/18 to £47 million to fully mitigate the Bedroom Tax for more than 70,000 households.
Commenting, Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:
“These figures show the extent to which the SNP Scottish Government is having use vast sums of money from the Scottish budget to mitigate the Tories’ ideological attack on vulnerable people.
“That this £400m has had to be spent mitigating the effects of the inhumane Tory welfare cuts, rather than being spent fighting the root causes of poverty in communities across Scotland, is outrageous.
“The UK Government seek to undermine the work of the Scottish Government at every turn, and they don’t seem to care that my constituents, and hundreds of thousands of people in communities across the United Kingdom, are suffering.”
“A mere 15% of welfare powers are being devolved to Scotland, but even with these limited devolved powers, the SNP are committed to creating a Scottish Social Security system with dignity, fairness and respect at its heart.
“I would encourage anyone who has experience of the UK Social Security system to sign up to be on the Scottish Government’s User Experience Panel. Your knowledge of the faults and flaws in the current system will be vital in shaping the new Scottish Social Security system, not just for yourselves, but for generations to come.”
Question S5W-07259: Ruth Maguire, Cunninghame South, Scottish National Party
To ask the Scottish Government how much it has spent on mitigating the impact in Scotland of the UK Government’s welfare reforms.
Answered by Angela Constance:
The Scottish Government has invested considerable resource directly mitigating the impact of the UK Government’s welfare cuts. The following table sets out the amount invested to date in a range of different mitigation activities.
|Welfare Reform Mitigation activity||Investment made March 2013 to March 2017
|Scottish Welfare Fund||152.4|
|Discretionary Housing Payments||125|
|Council Tax Reduction Scheme||92|
|Welfare Advice Provision||20|
|Addressing Food Poverty||3|
|Other welfare mitigation projects||4|
In addition, the Scottish Government has made investment across a range of portfolios to tackle poverty and inequality. This includes increasing access to free childcare, the provision of free school meals and a range of community-led regeneration activity. Much of this will provide additional support people affected by welfare reform.