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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S4W-14238
Asked by: Annabelle Ewing, Mid Scotland and Fife, Scottish National Party
Date lodged: 11 April 2013

Question

To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on the affordability of housing benefit in an independent Scotland.

Current status: Answered by Margaret Burgess on 8 May 2013


Answer

The Scottish Government’s view is that housing benefit would be affordable in an independent Scotland and would be more affordable than the housing benefit expenditure for Great Britain. Over the decade from 2001-02 to 2011-12, in inflation-adjusted terms, the growth of housing benefit was significantly lower in Scotland (at 21%) than in Great Britain as a whole (53%).

Housing benefit in an independent Scotland would form part of a national social protection system. Scotland’s Balance Sheet, published on 14th April 2013, shows that in 2011-12, social protection expenditure was equivalent to 14.4% of GDP. This is lower than the equivalent UK figure of 15.9%. In addition, spending on social protection in Scotland, as a share of the economy, has been lower than in the UK for the last five years, and is also lower than in the majority of other EU-15 countries.

In an independent Scotland a social protection system could be implemented which is appropriate to the needs of the Scottish people, achieving greater efficiency and improving affordability.