CIH wants control over taxation to mitigate welfare reforms
Tax revenue raised in Scotland should be used to cancel out Westminster’s welfare reforms, the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Scotland has said.
In its submission to the Smith Commission, the housing body said that Scotland should receive the baseline social security system from Westminster with the power to top-up housing benefit with “Scottish-raised revenue”.
Westminster allowed Scotland to top-up housing benefits this year by increasing discretionary housing payments.
However that took months to implement and the CIH wants Scotland to be be in control of these kinds of decisions in future.
In the 1980s councils across the UK were able to top-up housing benefit schemes by raising taxes through the old rates system.
Currently, all the main political parties agree that powers over housing benefit should be handed over to Scotland.
CIH Scotland’s submission said it would be concerned if powers over housing benefit alone - and not other related benefits - were devolved.
“If the devolution of further powers was to be confined solely to the delivery of specified benefits such as those mentioned by some of the main political parties (ie housing benefit and attendance allowance), the power of the Scottish Government to alter those benefits would be limited,” the submission states.
Devolving more powers on property and land, more power to vary or reduce VAT on housing repairs and more devolution of powers over energy and climate change legislation are also called for in the submission.