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Written by Claire Munro Thursday, 08 December 2011 14:58Commenting on the reports released today (Thursday 8th December) by the Scottish Parliament's Health and Sport Committee and the Infrastructure and Investment Committee, on the Coalition Government's Welfare Reform Bill, Maureen Watson, Policy & Strategy Director at the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) said:
"We welcome the report from the committees, to which the SFHA gave evidence, and we are also pleased they share our concerns about the damaging impact that the Coalition Government's proposed welfare reforms could have on a number of fronts.
"The SFHA has campaigned hard to raise awareness of the damaging impacts the Housing Benefit changes will have. Having given evidence to both the Health and the Infrastructure committees, we very much welcome the report from the Health & Sport committee, which has been leading Holyrood's enquiry into how Welfare Reform Bill will affect public policy and service delivery in the devolved setting. We take comfort that the Scottish Parliament shares our concerns about the damaging impact that the Coalition Government's proposed welfare reforms could have on a number of fronts."
Ms Watson continued:
"The MSPs also share our concerns about the lack of sufficient engagement between the Department for Work & Pensions and the Scottish Government, as well as noting concern about the particular problems emerging in Scotland due to the shortage of one bedroom properties.
"SFHA welcomes the Health Committee's call for a special ad hoc Welfare Reform committee to be established at Holyrood - we don't yet have a clear picture of how the Welfare Reform Bill will impact on Scotland specifically, so it is important that Holyrood has a means to keep tabs on future changes."
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1) The Scottish Parliament's Health and Sport Committee's report ‘UK Parliament (Welfare Reform Bill Legislation)' is available here
2) Read the SFHA's research on the impacts of the proposed changes to Housing Benefit here:
3) The overall amount of funding available for new investment in housing has been cut by over 30% and subsidy levels were cut for 2011-12 by around 48%. 2.5. According to the 2012-15 Draft Scottish Budget, this is set to be cut further; by nearly 50% in the first two years.
4) The SFHA was established in 1975 and has around 170 members providing affordable housing and wider community services in Scotland, as well as a further 200 commercial members. The SFHA is owned by its membership and exists to support the work of housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland by providing services, advice and good practice guidance.
5) The SFHA is the voice of the principal builders and managers of new affordable housing for rent in Scotland. Housing Associations own and manage around 40% of the country's affordable rented housing stock, over a quarter of a million homes across Scotland.
6) Housing associations and co-operatives are not-for-profit bodies regulated by the Scottish Housing Regulator.
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