£15m underspend on bedroom tax fund

Bedroom tax protest  - shutterstock 135072959 web

Councils are being urged to ensure that £15m of underspent discretionary housing payment funds reach vulnerable tenants by the end of March.

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6th March 2014 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

Millions of pounds set aside to help tens of thousands of people struggling due to the bedroom tax could be wasted by local authorities a housing charity has warned.

Shelter Scotland said by the end of 2013 there was up to £15 million lying unspent in discretionary housing payment (DHP) budgets.

The charity added Scottish Government figures showed a quarter of councils had spent less than 30% of their DHP budget for 2013-14, with only 10 local authorities having spent 90% or more.

We urge every local authority to do all they can to help as many people as possible as a matter of urgency

There are less than four weeks to go until this year’s budget has to be spent and it’s understood authorities cannot carry over all their underspend in DHP budgets.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said it would be shameful if all the money available isn’t spent.

“We are concerned that there is still a significant number of struggling tenants eligible to receive this money who are not getting it – whatever the reason,” he added.

“We urge every local authority to do all they can to help as many people as possible as a matter of urgency and anyone struggling with their rent to apply for help.  

“Failure to do so just doesn’t make sense and would mean that, instead of getting help, some people would face the very real threat of mounting rent arrears, eviction and homelessness.”