NEW analysis has revealed that nearly £9 million has been spent over the last four years mitigating the bedroom tax in West Dunbartonshire.

A recent investigation from the House of Commons Library shows that since 2019, the Scottish Government has spent more than £251 million lessening the effects of the Westminster policy through Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs).

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs): According to the Scottish Government's website if a person rents their home and is in receipt of housing benefits or universal credit but still can't afford housing costs they could be eligible for DHPs.

Local councils are responsible for deciding if individuals get DHPs.

The analysis goes on to add that around 1,271 households across West Dunbartonshire have been impacted by the 'controversial' policy, which was first introduced by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government in 2013. 

The bedroom tax is the reduction of benefits for people renting from a council or a housing association with a spare bedroom. 

How much was spent on DHPs in West Dunbartonshire? 

  • 2019-20: £1,974,310
  • 2020-21: £2,217,743
  • 2021-22: 2,285,640
  • 2022-23: £2,365,516
  • Total: £8,843,209

Marie McNair, Clydebank’s MSP, has criticised the Labour Party for “u-turning” on their commitment to abolish the policy.

Ms McNair, who is an SNP MSP, is calling for the tax to be scrapped and to give struggling households across West Dunbartonshire a chance.

She said:  “Anas Sarwar, under orders from Keir Starmer, has u-turned on his commitment to scrap the bedroom tax which is impacting a huge number of hardworking people across Clydebank.

 “In the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, Labour’s refusal to scrap the cruel bedroom tax and ease the financial pressure on households is a disgrace.

“People need real change – but Labour simply won’t deliver it. The SNP Government is being forced to mitigate the bedroom tax at a cost of over £251 million since 2019 – money that could be reinvested elsewhere if Scottish Labour had the courage to stand up to Keir Starmer and end these abhorrent policies for good.”

Families across Scotland are said to have been ‘disproportionately hit by the bedroom tax’ with almost 100,000 families affected.

Further research conducted by the SNP has shown that one in three (33 per cent) housing benefit claimants in Scotland have had their benefits reduced compared to one in six (16 per cent) in England.

Martin Docherty-Hughes, West Dunbartonshire's MP, has accused the Labour Party of "pushing families into poverty" over the party's backing of the policy. 

Mr Docherty-Hughes: "The Tories and Labour are pushing people across West Dunbartonshire into poverty, and costing the Scottish Government hundreds of millions of pounds by choosing to continue imposing the cruel Bedroom Tax against Scotland's will.

"This is yet another broken promise from the pro-Brexit Labour Party, who are becoming indistinguishable from the Tories.

“In contrast, the SNP Scottish Government has spent millions of pounds protecting families by mitigating policies like the Bedroom Tax – all with one hand tied behind our back.

“With the full powers of independence, Scotland could rid itself of Westminster control for good – which would make policies like the bedroom tax a thing of the past.”

The Scottish Government has declined to comment.