The Scottish Government has spent nearly £400m between since 2013 in an effort to alleviate Tory cuts to household incomes, new figures reveal.

The figures were revealed in a response to a parliamentary question by SNP MSP Ruth Maguire, showing that £152m was spent on the Scottish Welfare Fund and £125m on Discretionary Housing Payments over the four year period.

The Scottish Welfare Fund provides a safety net for vulnerable Scottish families, while Discretionary Housing Payments covers households affected by the UK Government’s Bedroom Tax making sure no–one has to pay. The Scottish Government has increased funding in 17/18 to £47 million to fully mitigate the Bedroom Tax for more than 70,000 households.

Commenting, Ruth Maguire said:

“These new figures reveal the extent to which the Scottish Government has been forced to clean up the Tories mess.

“This £400m has been spent merely mitigating the effects of the inhumane Tory welfare cuts, rather than being spent fighting the root causes of poverty in communities across Scotland.

“This is just another example of where the Scottish Government and UK Government’s priorities differ – while the Tories cut funding to those who need it most, the SNP is determined to help the most vulnerable within our society.

“Even with our limited devolved powers, the SNP is committed to creating a Scottish Social Security system with dignity, fairness and respect at its heart.”
Further information:

Question S5W-07259: Ruth Maguire, Cunninghame South, Scottish National Party

To ask the Scottish Government how much it has spent on mitigating the impact in Scotland of the UK Government’s welfare reforms.

Answered by Angela Constance, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities:
The Scottish Government has invested considerable resource directly mitigating the impact of the UK Government’s welfare cuts. The following table sets out the amount invested to date in a range of different mitigation activities.

Welfare Reform Mitigation activity Investment made March 2013 to March 2017
(£ million)
Scottish Welfare Fund 152.4
Discretionary Housing Payments 125
Council Tax Reduction Scheme 92
Welfare Advice Provision 20
Addressing Food Poverty 3
Other welfare mitigation projects 4
Total 396.4

In addition, the Scottish Government has made investment across a range of portfolios to tackle poverty and inequality. This includes increasing access to free childcare, the provision of free school meals and a range of community-led regeneration activity. Much of this will provide additional support people affected by welfare reform.