Help available for people hit hard by benefit changes

There has been a massive 513 per cent increase in people who need help to pay their rent in East Dunbartonshire since welfare reform was introduced earlier this year - according to a council report.

The changes came into place on April 1.

Since then the council has paid out over £23,000 to help people move to more affordable or suitable accommodation.

Advisers have also been visiting those affected to offer support, including arranging mutual exchanges, transfer applications and Discretionary Housing Payments.

Council leader Rhondda Geekie said: “We have been working hard to ensure that those people who are affected by these changes receive the help that they are entitled to, making payments to them when necessary, perhaps for rent increases they cannot pay or to help pay deposits on property which is more suitable to them. We want to ensure that all those in our communities are supported and we have made sure that information is available on the council website, through the customer contact centre and by visiting the three community hubs in Kirkintilloch, Bishopbriggs and Bearsden.”

Posters and leaflets advising people of the reforms and encouraging them to find out how it may impact on them have been distributed to libraries, leisure centres and to voluntary and support organisations.

The council works in partnership with the Citizens Advice Bureau to provide welfare rights services, phone 0141 775 3220 or 0141 563 0220.

Detailed information is also available on the welfare reform pages of the council website at:

www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/welfarereform or call the Customer Contact Centre on 0300 123 4510.