What actions are the SNP taking in Government to mitigate Westminster’s welfare reforms?
In government, we’re taking steps to mitigate the worst aspects of Westminster’s welfare reform. This year alone, the Scottish Government is spending over £125 million to protect people from the worst aspects of Tory welfare cuts.
We are fully mitigating the Bedroom Tax in Scotland, and we have pledged to abolish the tax completely when we have the powers to do so.
Since its establishment, the Scottish Welfare Fund has helped almost 300,000 households. The Fund provides Crisis Grants for when someone experiences a disaster or emergency, and Community Care Grants to enable independent living. We have also extended the Scottish Welfare Fund on an interim basis to mitigate the UK government's decision to remove Housing Benefit for 18-21 year olds.
In 2017-18, 22,280 applications for Crisis Grants were made because of delays to payments of benefits - up 27 per cent on 2016-17. This clearly shows the impact of the UK government’s harsh welfare cuts and botched reforms.
We have restored Westminster’s cut to Council Tax support through the creation of Council Tax Reductions - protecting the incomes of over half a million people on low incomes.
We have extended the child allowance in the Council Tax Reduction scheme by 25 per cent, benefiting 77,000 households by an average of £173 per year or around £15 per month. This boost for low-income families will help nearly 140,000 children across Scotland.
Following the UK government decision to scrap the UK-wide scheme, we have safeguarded the support for 2,600 disabled people through the Scottish Independent Living Fund. We have now created an extra £5 million fund to support young disabled people make the transition into adulthood.