Boost for North East councils

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The news that Angus Council is to receive over £280,000 to implement welfare reforms has been welcomed by a North East MSP.

Alison McIness, a Liberal Democrat MSP, spoke after the UK government announced that local councils in the North East region are to benefit from nearly £1 million extra to implement welfare reforms.

The aim is to help councils with changes to the housing benefit system. The extra funding is a part of a UK-wide additional funding package worth £35 million.

Angus Council will receive £286,605, Aberdeenshire £430,505, Moray £188,970, Dundee £38,192 and Aberdeen £36,446. Rural councils are receiving more help than urban councils.

Mrs McInnes, said: “Liberal Democrats have been working for some time to secure additional provisions from the UK Government to ensure that people do not suffer from any unintended consequences of housing benefit reform. The doubling of the overall fund to £65 million will provide more assistance while maintaining the incentives created to get the right people into the right sized properties.

“Almost everyone agrees that we need to reform the welfare system to ensure that it is fair, makes work pay and is affordable for the taxpayer. Yet while there is a general agreement that a reform is necessary, implementing big changes is far from simple.

“I am pleased that these changes which will help to make the reforms work better are now being implemented with nearly £1 million in additional funding for the North East. Our local councils will also be able to bid for even more support from a new £20 million fund.”

Sir Robert Smith, MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, added: “The new funding for rural councils, worth £5 million, was considered important to reflect the travel-to-work distances and the scarcity of rural housing which certainly applies in parts of the North East.

“Making welfare reform work effectively and fairly for the people of the North East and the rest of the UK is important. The impact of these reforms will need to be carefully monitored to ensure they achieve their goal fairly.”