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Local Government

Volume 558: debated on Wednesday 13 February 2013

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I are in regular contact with representatives of local government in Scotland on a range of issues.

The truth is that the Secretary of State has not met the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities since 12 September last year. The consequences of the bedroom tax, which he voted for and which risks making 10,000 people in Scotland homeless, will be dealt with by local authorities. What will he do about that and when will he meet COSLA?

The hon. Lady should know that the Secretary of State has met COSLA within the past two weeks and is in regular contact with its leader. He will be making COSLA aware of the discretionary payments fund, which has been greatly increased in Scotland, and of how local authorities can utilise that.

What assessment has the Minister made of the impact of the bedroom tax on the credit rating of local authorities and other social landlords, which is bound to go down, having an impact on house building and maintenance?

I am afraid that the hon. Lady’s assumption is wrong. At meetings with COSLA, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations and my noble Friend Lord Freud, we have discussed that very issue and satisfied the concerns of housing associations and local authorities.