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Discretionary Housing Payments

Published: 30 May 2017 09:30

An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Over the past year almost 113,000 awards  have been made under the Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) scheme, with a total value of £51.9 million.

Local authorities paid out the money during the period 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017, with an average payment of £460.

The statistics were published by Scotland’s Chief Statistician.

The scheme is used by local authorities to provide financial assistance towards housing costs, including  covering the shortfall in tenants’ weekly rent where it has been affected by the Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy (RSRS), also known as the Bedroom Tax.

The Scottish Government is committed to reimbursing Local Authorities for the impact of the RSRS.

Background

The full statistical publication is online 

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.

Local authorities received around 107,000 applications to the scheme, which provides financial assistance towards housing costs for those claiming housing benefit or the housing element of universal credit.  By the end of March 2017, around 121,000 of these claims were processed to determine whether or not to make an award (an application – sometimes made in the previous financial year – can have multiple decisions attached to it) and almost 113,000 awards were granted. 

As of April 2017 DHPs have been fully devolved to the Scottish Government, however during the period covered by these statistics DHPs were mostly a matter reserved to the UK Government. DHPs are administered in Scotland by the 32 Scottish Local Authorities (LAs). DHPs may be awarded when an LA considers that a housing benefit or universal credit (including the housing elememt) 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 Spare Room Subsidy in the social rented sector (also known as the “bedroom tax”) and reductions in Local Housing Allowance.

The second tranche of Scottish Government DHP funding for 2016/17 will be calculated based on the actual cost to local authorities of mitigating RSRS losses.

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland is available online.