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Scottish Communities Minister Angela Constance.

Well, the Tories said they wouldn’t make any more cuts to sickness and disability benefits – they’re going to take the money from housing benefit instead.

The decision will hit not only tenants but landlords and the Scottish Government itself, which may be unable to build 50,000 new social housing units as a result, and will have to pay the costs associated with the expected increase in homelessness.

We have already seen the effect of cuts to Housing Benefit in areas where the failed-before-it-started Universal Credit has been trialled, like Great Yarmouth.

The Conservatives don’t care, of course.

Their only interest is in shrinking the state and handing huge tax rebates to their rich friends who don’t need the money.

Scotland’s government and opposition parties have attacked Whitehall plans for fresh welfare cuts dubbed ‘Bedroom Tax Two’ with one prominent figure the proposals “must be stopped”.

Scottish Government ministers expressed grave concerns over the impact of introducing for the first time caps on help for social housing costs, stating it was already spending £100million annually mitigating against welfare cuts.

Communities minister Angela Constance said plans to cut assistance to those aged under 35 and renting from council and housing association by up to one quarter would “only risk making matters worse for social tenants”.

Scottish Labour deputy leader Alex Rowley added: “The Department of Work and Pension proposals must be stopped and we need all parties in the Scottish Parliament to unite to make sure they do not go ahead as planned in 2019.”

Meanwhile, Scotland’s councils have warned the new cap on social housing benefits would have a major adverse effect on their finances amid predictions of spiralling arrears.

From early 2019, the DWP will only pay social tenants the so-called Local Housing Allowance (LHA).

But single tenants under 35 with no children will see their benefits limited to the ‘shared accommodation rate’ (SAR) which is much lower than the average for one-bedroom properties.

It means that a younger tenant in Glasgow who would normally be entitled to £92.06 under the current system, will receive £68.28 in housing benefit.

Source: SNP and Labour unite against Westminster ‘Bedroom Tax Two’ welfare cuts (From HeraldScotland)

*This has been reported as the SNP and Labour uniting to fight the new cut. In fact, it seems they have voiced their opposition separately. The effect is the same but it is important to make the distinction as Labour and the SNP are unlikely to work together on anything.

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