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What will happen to Housing Benefit in an independent Scotland?

Housing Benefit in an independent Scotland will form part of a national social protection system. This Government’s proposal is to preserve Housing Benefit as a standalone benefit rather than include it as part of a single benefit payment.

Scotland’s Balance Sheet, published on 14 April 2013, shows that in 2011/12, social protection expenditure was equivalent to 14.4 per cent of economic output (GDP). This is lower than the equivalent UK figure of 15.9 per cent. In addition, spending on social protection in Scotland, as a share of the economy, has been lower than in the UK for the last five years, and is also lower than in the majority of other EU-15 countries.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will Scottish governments be able to do more to invest in affordable housing in an independent Scotland?

Yes. There will be opportunities for more investment in affordable housing in an independent Scotland. Full flexibility over Scotland’s budgets, only available through independence, will enable future Scottish governments to:

  • broaden action to make more affordable housing available to alleviate homelessness and tackle fuel poverty

  • take action to further improve the quality of housing, for example in the social rented sector

  • introduce different ways of supporting first time buyers

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.