Many now strug­gling to rent pri­vately

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - NEWS - By An­drew Picken APICKEN@SUNDAYPOST.COM

Pri­vate rent­ing is be­com­ing “com­pletely un­af­ford­able” in some parts of the coun­try be­cause of wel­fare cuts, a new re­port has claimed.

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment pa­per says pri­vate hous­ing for peo­ple who need hous­ing ben­e­fit to help meet the cost of their rent has be­come “com­pletely un­af­ford­able in some ar­eas” due to a freeze on lo­cal hous­ing al­lowance.

In Ed­in­burgh those get­ting help with hous­ing costs for a one-bed­room flat would only be able to af­ford 5% of avail­able prop­er­ties, in con­trast with the 30% of homes en­vis­aged by West­min­ster.

The pa­per also claims re­forms to hous­ing ben­e­fits in­tro­duced by West­min­ster have had a “sub­stan­tial im­pact” on the level of rent ar­rears.

Al­most three quar­ters (72%) of so­cial hous­ing ten­ants in East Loth­ian claim­ing Uni­ver­sal Credit, the new ben­e­fit which in­cludes hous­ing pay­ments, were be­hind on their rent pay­ments.

Scot­tish Hous­ing Min­is­ter Kevin Ste­wart called on the UK Gov­ern­ment to re­think its wel­fare re­forms.

He said: “It is clear wel­fare cuts are hav­ing a dev­as­tat­ing im­pact.”

A UK Gov­ern­ment spokesman said: “Un­der Uni­ver­sal Credit, claimants can re­ceive sup­port through 100% ad­vance pay­ments, in­clud­ing hous­ing costs, from day one. We have also in­tro­duced two weeks ad­di­tional rent pay­ment.”

Kevin Ste­wart

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