Action needed to help renters
UK government urged to strengthen social security system.
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart has written to the UK Government calling for urgent action to support housing tenants affected by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
In a letter to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Mr Stewart identifies five key areas in which the benefits system and support for people who rent their home should be urgently strengthened.
The Housing Minister urges the UK Government to:
- lift local housing allowance rates further to make more homes affordable to renters
- suspend the removal of the spare room subsidy
- suspend the benefit cap
- suspend the shared accommodation rate for under-35s
- extend the backdating of benefits for those who might not have realised they were eligible and relax the criteria under which backdating is allowable
The Scottish Government took action in the first emergency Covid-19 legislation to protect tenants from eviction for at least six months. Recently, it made an additional £5 million available in discretionary housing payments to support those renting, increasing this fund to £16 million – this is further to that made available to fully mitigate the 'bedroom tax'.