Scottish Discretionary Housing Payment: guidance manual

Discretionary Housing Payment guidance manual for local authorities in Scotland, for use from 1 April 2024, issued by Scottish Ministers.

Ministerial foreword for the Scottish Discretionary Housing Payment guidance manual

It is my privilege to introduce the new Scottish Discretionary Housing Payment guidance manual.

In recent years, we have witnessed the impact of UK Government welfare cuts on our communities. The introduction of the bedroom tax, the benefit cap, and the freezing of local housing allowance rates have had a devastating impact on many of our lowest-income citizens. These measures have exacerbated child poverty and increased the risk of homelessness for many families.

While we have taken steps to mitigate these impacts through the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme, we should not be in this position. The need for such extensive mitigation measures highlights the inadequacy of the UK Government's social security system.

We believe in a social security system that is based on dignity, fairness and respect, that supports people when they need it, and that works to prevent poverty and inequality. It is our firm belief that social security should provide a safety net for all. We will continue to call on the UK Government to scrap the bedroom tax, the benefit cap and deliver certainty on local housing allowance support in the future.

In the meantime, the launch of a Scottish Discretionary Housing Payment scheme allows us to make different choices. Tackling poverty and preventing homelessness are key priorities for this Government. We choose to provide financial assistance to those who need extra help with their housing costs, thereby reducing poverty, maintaining tenancies and preventing homelessness.

The Discretionary Housing Payment scheme plays a crucial role in supporting low-income households. This manual is a tool for change, and a step towards a Scotland where everyone has the security of a safe and affordable home.

Shirley-Anne Somerville, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice



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