Scheme of Assistance
In 2020/21 4,516 scheme of assistance grants were paid to householders, a 42% decrease (or 3,207 fewer grants) than 2019-20. Scheme of Assistance grants totalled £18.5 million, which is around £8 million less than in 2019-20. The majority of these were for disabled adaptions, 3,092 grants which is 40% less than the 2019/20 figure of 5,132. Disabled adaptation grants in 2020-21 totalled £13.5 million which is a decrease on the 2019-20 figure of £20.6m.
The Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 introduced a new Scheme of Assistance, which replaced the previous system of private sector home improvement grants. The scheme also aims to encourage home owners to take more responsibility for the condition of their homes, to ensure that private housing in Scotland is kept in a decent state of repair.
Home owners are primarily responsible for their own property under their title deeds, but local authorities have statutory powers to maintain and improve the general condition of private sector housing in their area. If an owner needs help to look after their home, the Scheme of Assistance allows local authorities broad discretionary powers to provide assistance. This assistance can be provided through advice and guidance, practical help, or through financial assistance by way of grants or loans. It is for the local authority to determine what kinds of assistance are made available on the basis of local priorities and budgets.
Local authorities must provide assistance to owners who have been served a statutory work notice requiring them to bring a house into a reasonable state of repair. Local authorities must also provide assistance by way of grant for most work to adapt homes to meet the needs of disabled people, other than for home extensions. All other assistance is discretionary. Under the Scheme of Assistance local authorities must prepare a statement providing information about the assistance that is available locally.
In 2020-21, councils provided householders with 295,503 instances of help. Most of this help (284,022 cases or 96% of all cases) was in the form of non-financial assistance such as website hits, leaflets or advice. Total spending across grants and spending on missing shares, other cases and administrative costs etc, was almost £27.8 million, of which £18.5 million was accounted for by grants approved. Of these grants, 3,092 were paid to disabled households totalling £13.5 million; a further 1,424 grants were paid to other households totalling £4.9 million.
Further detailed figures are available in the Scheme of Assistance Excel webtables.
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