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LOCAL COUNCILS SPEND MILLIONS MITIGATING UNIVERSAL CREDIT

SNP MSP CALLS ON IMMEDIATE HALT TO FAILED TORY POLICY

George outside the old St Mirren ground on Love St

SNP MSP George Adam has renewed calls for an immediate halt to Universal Credit after it was revealed that councils are spending millions of pounds attempting to undo the damage of this failed Tory policy.

 

A series of Freedom of Information requests discovered that local authorities in Scotland have spent more than £24 million to mitigate the harmful effects of Universal Credit, which has faced huge backlash since its introduction.

 

Renfrewshire Council has set aside 1,596,000 for spending related to UC, with extra funds being reserved to manage the impact of Universal Credit on council housing tenants finding themselves plunged into rent arrears and poverty.

 

Universal Credit has been beset by problems since its rollout. This week, one of the UK’s biggest housing associations said that more than 100,000 children could face hardship over Christmas because families are being forced to wait for more than five weeks for their first benefit payment, and the Trussell Trust has warned that they are preparing for their busiest month ever – after a 15% rise in foodbank use in Scotland in the past year.

 

SNP MSP George Adam said:

 

“Universal Credit is a broken system – it’s leaving people destitute, driving kids into poverty and forcing families to rely on foodbanks in Paisley.

 

“And these latest eye-watering figures show that Renfrewshire Council has been left picking up the pieces, being forced to shell out 1,596,000.

 

“Money is being diverted away from key public services to cover the costs and mitigate the damage caused by this appalling change being imposed by the UK Government on Scotland. That is fundamentally unfair.

 

“But there’s an easy solution – halt the rollout of Universal Credit and fix this broken policy. Or better still, put all welfare powers in the hands of the Scottish Parliament – so we can build a social security system which puts dignity, fairness and respect at its heart.”

 

George high street

SNP Budget Brings Funding Boost For Paisley.

More Cash For Local Services Thanks To Progressive Reforms

 

Renfrewshire Council is set to receive a significant funding boost as a result of this year’s SNP Scottish Government budget – with local services in Renfrewshire benefiting from an extra £8.823 million.

 

The SNP’s progressive reforms – which will see 55% of taxpayers pay less in income tax than if they lived in the rest of the UK – guarantee a 2.83% increase rise in Renfrewshire council’s resource budget, providing extra funding for schools, roads and housing. The budget will also see Renfrewshire schools benefit from £4,272,240 million as part of the Pupil Equity Fund, helping to tackle the attainment gap.

 

The Scottish Budget also provides additional spending on our NHS – which will see an extra £400 million in funding to help protect our health service from Tory austerity.

 

Commenting, Paisleys MSP, George Adam said:George high street

 

“This extra funding for Renfrewshire council – an additional £8.823 million for the coming year – is a great settlement for our communities.

 

“The SNP’s progressive reforms on income tax, seeing 70% of people pay less than they did last year, and 55% pay less than they would if they lived south of the border, are vital for allowing this funding increase despite continued austerity being imposed by the Tories at Westminster.

 

“And it takes the total resource budget for our council’s services – such as schools, roads and housing – to £311.453 million for the coming year, an increase of 2.83% when compared with last year.

 

“This progressive budget also provides extra funding for our NHS, education and broadband, and more money for our economy, research and our environment too – as well as protecting free university tuition, free personal care for the elderly, free school meals and free prescriptions.

 

“While the Tories propose cutting over £556 million from public services in order to pay for their tax cuts for the wealthiest – the SNP Government delivers for our councils and protects the vital local services in Paisley that we all hold dear.”

Statistics Show More Social And Council Housing In Development

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, has welcomed a significant rise in the number of council houses and new social rented sector homes in development compared to last year, as well as an overall increase in housing supply – as revealed by National Statistics for Scotland figures published today. 

 

While the Labour/Lib Dem Scottish executive built only six council homes during their time in office, council house building has been revived under the SNP, with right-to-buy scrapped. Central to the Scottish Government’s ambition to make Scotland “fairer and more prosperous” is the commitment to building at least 50,000 new affordable homes over this parliament. 

The latest analysis shows that new local authority housing starts and completions have risen (26% and 12% respectively) since last year, and more social housing is being built across Scotland. 

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Commenting, George said:

 

“It is really encouraging that housebuilding in Scotland is on the up – particularly when it comes to new social housing and council-built developments.  

 

“The number of social housing homes built between April and June this year was up 77% on the same period last year. And on top of this there was a 26% increase in new local council housing developments up to September 2016 compared to last year. 

 

“The SNP is committed to building 50,000 new affordable homes for many reasons, not least given the link between poor housing and poverty and the fact more homes will help improve people’s life chances, create jobs, and have a beneficial effect on health and wellbeing. This is in stark contrast to the Labour/Lib Dem coalition that was responsible for building only six new council houses throughout their time in office.  While we still have work to do, I am confident that these latest figures show that the SNP is committed to working with partners to continue to increase the affordable housing supply.”

 

NEW COUNCIL HOUSES IN RENFREWSHIRE

George outside Paisley AbbeyGeorge Adam has welcomed new figures showing that  37 new council houses have been built in Renfrewshire  since 2009 with Scottish Government funding, providing a “huge boost” to the local economy.

 

This compares with only 6 council homes being built in the whole of Scotland during the previous Labour/ LibDem Government’s term.

 

Analysis shows that the Scottish Government Council House Build Programme – introduced in April 2009 – has seen more than £135m invested to provide local authority housing for people across the country.

 

The funding incentivises local authorities to build new homes – the first such central government support to councils in a generation.

 

Commenting George said:

 

“It is fantastic that this SNP Scottish Government has provided funding for more than 37 new homes in Rernfrewshire and demonstrates the scale and ambition of this programme.

 

“The SNP Government is on track to deliver 30,000 affordable homes across Scotland by March 2016, with 1,324 council homes built in 2013/14 alone – the highest number since a new generation of council house construction was kick-started in 2009.

 

“In contrast, the previous Labour/LibDem administration built just six council homes during the four years of their last term in office.

 

“Despite considerable challenges to the money we get back from Westminster the SNP Scottish Government plans to spend over £1.7 billion to deliver our target of 30,000 affordable homes during the lifetime of this Parliament, supporting an estimated 8,000 jobs each year.

 

“However only a Yes vote and the full powers of independence will give us full control to tailor our housing supply investment and initiatives to meet the needs of our communities and the homebuilding industry in Scotland.

 

“It will also provide the full borrowing powers we need to invest prudently in infrastructure, and not have our capital budget dictated to us by Westminster.”