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It mostly covers my work as UNISON Scotland's Head of Policy and Public Affairs although views are my own. For full coverage of UNISON Scotland's policy and campaigns please visit our web site. You can also follow me on Twitter. I hope you find this blog interesting and I would welcome your comments.

Monday, 31 January 2011

Housing Benefit cuts

Much of the noise around the changes to Housing Benefit proposed by the Con-Dem UK government has been the impact on cities like London. However, it is no becoming clearer that it will also have a serious impact on Scotland with some 60,000 households facing severe hardship.

The Scottish Government's Housing Minister has highlighted that in April, 55,000 households will be given nine months to either lose housing benefit or move out of their home. It will affect households who already pay the average price of rent in their area and will now need to find available accommodation in the bottom third bracket of rental prices. 7,500 young people, 25 - 34 year olds, are set to lose nearly £55 a week from April when they will no longer receive support for their own homes and will be forced into shared accommodation.

The Scottish Government has established an expert group to share knowledge of local impacts and to make the case for stopping the worst measures. Not surprisingly, the Scottish Government will also press for the devolution of powers on welfare and benefits. UNISON argued in its evidence to the Calman Commission that Housing and Council Tax benefits should be devolved, but not UK administered benefits.

These reforms could create poverty ghettos, punishing people for being unable to take up a job where no jobs exist. All in this together - again I think not.

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