Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson has welcomed news that the Scottish Government will give local authorities almost £58million in the next financial year to combat the harmful impact of Westminster’s welfare cuts.

The cash made available to councils will include £47million to ensure that no one in Scotland has to pay the Tories’ punitive bedroom tax, bringing relief for 70,000 households.
Another £10.9million will be given to local authorities to help mitigate other UK Government policies such as the Benefit Cap and Local Housing Allowance rates.

Mr Matheson said: “The money being made available to councils will provide a welcome lifeline for thousands of families in Falkirk who are struggling to make ends meet.
“The contrast between the Scottish and UK Governments’ approach to the most vulnerable people in our society couldn’t be any clearer. Whereas the SNP stands up for low-income families and households, the Tories last week snuck out the news that they will continue to hammer the poor with a further £3.5billion in spending cuts by 2020 as they keep pursuing their failed austerity policies.”

The £57.9million of funding announced by Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman represents a £7.7million increase on last year.
Ms Freeman said: “The Scottish Government wants to protect low-income families and households across Scotland, which is why we have increased the funding available in the first year we have had full responsibility for Discretionary Housing Payments. However, we would much rather be using this money to positively lift people out of poverty.

“It is abundantly clear the approach the UK Government is taking to welfare is causing real damage and pushing people into poverty.”