The Labour candidate for the Argyll and Bute seat in the 2015 UK general election has criticised the local authority for their allocation of money to help those in need of welfare assistance.
Mary Galbraith met with The Buteman on Friday afternoon during her visit to the island, and spoke of her disappointment over Argyll and Bute Council’s decision to pay out only on medium and high hardship level DHP applications from compensation funds distributed by the Scottish Parliament.
“Both Westminster and Holyrood voted on the distribution of money to alleviate the Bedroom Tax, and because of the geography, Westminster gave money to rural constituencies,” she said. “The money is all there but they’ve [Argyll and Bute Council] voted only to help a particular group, not everyone.
“Some people on Bute will be penalised for having low level hardship. It’s madness.”
In response, Argyll and Bute Council Leader, Councillor Dick Walsh, said: “We are making sure that as many people who really need help are able to get it. Some people are facing real hardship and because of this it is important for us to ensure that we make the best possible use of the funding available.
“As well as paying out over £308,000 to over 600 claims, we are working closely with registered social landlords to help find more suitable accommodation for people who have been affected by changes to benefits. There will also be a tenant incentive scheme to help people move to smaller properties and remove the impact of the spare room subsidy. Qualifying tenants will receive £500 as part of this scheme.
“We will be reviewing the situation regularly to make sure that the people in Argyll and Bute who really need help are able to get it.”
* Read more from our interview with Ms Galbraith in this week’s Buteman - on sale from Thursday, February 20.