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Discretionary Housing Payments - over 86,000 awards support housing costs during April to September 2016

Published: 29 Nov 2016 10:05
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 2016, Local Authorities in Scotland made over 86,000 Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) awards. The average award value was £512, typically to cover shortfalls in housing costs through to 31 March 2017.

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 2016/17 was £44.2 million (88 per cent) of the total estimated funding of £50.2 million for 2016/17. Committed spend occurs, for example, if a Local Authority decides to award funds for the whole of 2016/17, but this may be paid out in instalments throughout the year rather than in one lump sum.

Local Authorities received over 75,000 applications for DHPs between April and September 2016. 90,000 applications 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). These figures are 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 2016/17 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.

Background

 

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 2016 to March 2017. Committed spend occurs, for example, if a Local Authority decides to award funds for the whole of 2016/17, 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.

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