Vulnerable East Dunbartonshire tenants face choice of eat, heat or rent

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Vulnerable tenants in East Dunbartonshire are being forced to choose between heating, eating or paying their rent this winter.

The Chartered Institue of Housing has revealed that more than 90 per cent of Local Housing Allowances (LHA) now fail to cover the cheapest rents in the private sector.

The Institute says over the next year, some of the larger properties in East Dunbartonshire will have a gap of more than £1,000.

A CIH spokesperson said: “Over 12 months, some of the larger properties in Glasgow and East Dunbartonshire will have a gap of over £1,000, making it increasingly likely that renters will be forced to choose between paying for basic necessities like food and heating or their rent”.

The Herald reported last week that an East Dunbartonshire man was among 94 homeless deaths in Scotland during the past year.

Local Housing Allowance, the way housing benefit is calculated and paid to tenants of private landlords, was frozen by the UK government for four years in 2016. The CIH is calling on it to review the 
policy and end the freeze .

Strathkelvin and Bearsden SNP MSP Rona Mackay said: “This is just another example of the callous Westminster policies, which are affecting the most vulnerable in society.

“On top of the disastrous Universal Credit, which has already had a terrible effect since the roll out in parts of my constituency, it shows how out of touch this Westminster Government is with the lives of ordinary people.”

A CIH spokesperson added: “Our research makes it clear just how far housing benefit for private renters has failed to keep pace with even the cheapest private rents”.

A UK government spokesperson said: “We spend £24 billion a year on housing benefit every year.”