Responding to the news that the House of Commons voted last night (1st February) to overturn a Lords proposal calling for social tenants with one spare room to be exempt from new “under-occupancy penalties” linked to housing benefit, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) warned this measure would cause financial and emotional distress to up to 70,000 Scottish tenants (1).
David Ogilvie, Policy & Strategy Manager at the SFHA said:
“Having written to all Scottish MPs ahead of the Commons debate, SFHA had hoped that common sense would prevail, but instead we find ourselves dumbfounded by the brutality of the Bill that MPs have said they want to see passed as law. It’s almost as if some of them have forgotten that housing association and co-operative tenants are citizens and voters too.
“We are dismayed that the hard-won amendments made to the Welfare Reform Bill by the Lords have – at a stroke – been discarded by MPs, meaning that 70,000 Scottish households will be hit by a bedroom tax, which many of them will be unable to avoid due to the lack of alternative affordable housing.
“Whilst some minor concessions were made on discretionary payments for affected households, Scottish housing associations face significant financial and management difficulties in the coming months.
“We are further disappointed to see that the Government has seen fit to invoke financial privilege procedure as a means of curtailing Parliamentary scrutiny and any further amendment of the Welfare Reform Bill by the Lords.”
For further information, contact Claire Munro on t: 0141 567 6224 m: 07771926778 or e: firstname.lastname@example.org
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1) The National Housing Federation (SFHA’s sister federation in England) has calculated that 70,000 council and housing association households in Scotland will be hit by the ‘Bedroom Tax’ http://www.sfha.co.uk/component/option,com_docman/Itemid,37/gid,1819/task,doc_download/
2) Read the SFHA’s research on the impacts of the proposed changes to Housing Benefit here:
3) The SFHA was established in 1975 and has around 170 members providing affordable housing and wider community services in Scotland, as well as a further 200 commercial members. The SFHA is owned by its membership and exists to support the work of housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland by providing services, advice and good practice guidance.
4) The SFHA is the voice of the principal builders and managers of new affordable housing for rent in Scotland. Housing Associations own and manage around 40% of the country’s affordable rented housing stock, over a quarter of a million homes across Scotland.
5) Housing associations and co-operatives are not-for-profit bodies regulated by the Scottish Housing Regulator.