beta

You're viewing our new website - find out more

News

Discretionary Housing Payments

Published: 24 Nov 2015 09:30
Part of:
Statistics

An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Statistics released today by Scotland's Chief Statistician show that during the period 1 April to 30 September 2015, Local Authorities in Scotland made 92,000 Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) awards. The average award value was £476, typically to cover shortfalls in housing costs through to 31 March 2016.

The DHP scheme provides financial assistance towards housing costs for those claiming housing benefit. The total value of DHP awards spent or committed so far for 2015/16 was £43.9 million (91 per cent) of the total estimated funding of £48.3 million for 2015/16. Committed spend occurs, for example, if a Local Authority decides to award funds for the whole of 2015/16, but this may be paid out in instalments throughout the year rather than in one lump sum.

Local Authorities received around 100,000 applications for DHPs and processed around 97,000 of these, determining whether or not to make an award. This figure is likely to include a sizeable number of cases affected by the Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy (RSRS) (the "bedroom tax"), where Local Authorities have continued to make up the shortfall in tenants' weekly rent through the use of DHPs. The Scottish Government is committed to reimbursing Local Authorities for the impact of the RSRS. The final amount will be calculated and announced after the end of the 2015/16 financial year.

The figures released today were produced by independent statistical staff, free from political interference, in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Notes to editors

The full statistical publication is available at:

http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Social-Welfare/dhp

This publication contains information on the number of applications for DHPs, determinations, awards and the total value of awards spent or committed in each Local Authority. Local Authorities were asked to provide figures on the total value of awards spent or committed through to the end of the financial year, April 2015 to March 2016. Committed spend occurs, for example, if a Local Authority decides to award funds for the whole of 2015/16, but this may be paid out in instalments throughout the year rather than in one lump sum.

DHPs are mostly a matter reserved to the UK Government. DHPs are administered in Scotland by the 32 Scottish LAs and may be awarded when an LA considers that a housing benefit claimant requires further financial assistance towards housing costs.

DHPs can be used to provide support to claimants affected by some of the key welfare reforms, including the introduction of benefit cap, the removal of the "bedroom tax" (RSRS) and reductions in Local Housing Allowance.

Scottish Ministers now have the power to determine the limit of Local Authority DHP expenditure. This power came into force on 5th November 2014, after approval by the Privy Council, and was applied from 2014/15 onwards. Subsequently, Scottish Ministers removed the limit on expenditure for DHPs, through the Discretionary Housing Payments (Limit on Total Expenditure) Revocation (Scotland) Order 2014. This came into force on 9th December 2014.

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/About