Tens of thousands of Scots struggling to deal with the impact of the so called bedroom tax have claimed £15.4 million in emergency housing support, it emerged today.
The figure for April to November last year is a four-fold increase on the whole of 2012 when £4m was claimed.
Nicola Sturgeon said today that Scots are suffering over decisions taken in London.
The axing of the spare room subsidy - the so-called bedroom tax - has been the most controversial of the Coalition Government’s welfare reforms.
It means working-age people renting from councils or housing associations lose up to a quarter of their housing benefit if officials decide they have more bedrooms than they need.
Ms Sturgeon said: “There is no doubt that people in Scotland are paying a heavy price for Westminster decisions. But these figures show that by working closely with our Local Authority partners we have been able to provide support for over 45,500 households in Scotland.
“And we will continue to do all we can to help. However, only an independent Scottish Parliament will give us the powers we need to scrap the bedroom tax.
“Scotland has a choice of two futures – one in which Scotland continues to pay the price of Westminster’s welfare reforms, or one in which we have the powers to design a welfare system that suits our needs.”
The figures released today show 45,772 households claimed £15.36m in 2013. Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are a reserved responsibility and come under the remit of the Department of Work and Pensions. DHPs are made by Local Authorities to housing benefit claimants who qualify for support.
The Scottish Government contributed and extra £20 million to the DHP fund in 2013/14 to help those struggling most with the costs of the bedroom tax. This brings the total amount of funding to over £35 million - the maximum permitted under UK legislation.