The SNP Scottish Government has taken steps to mitigate the worst aspects of Westminster’s welfare reform. Since 2013, the Scottish Government has spent over £100 million a year 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 more than 285,720 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 2016-17 over 17,500 applications for Crisis Grants were made because of delays to payments of benefits – around 10 per cent of all applications. Between July and September 2017 this increased to 14 per cent. This clearly shows the impact of the UK government’s harsh welfare cuts.
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.