North Lanarkshire Council has committed £878,000 towards offsetting the impact of welfare reform and the role out of Universal Credit on council tenants.
Some of the money will be used to create 15 new posts to support the work of the income maximisation team over the next two years with the additional staff helping people with income advice, ensuring they are receiving all the benefits they are entitled to and helping people maintain their tenancies.
Councillor Heather McVey, convener of housing and communities said: “Through the prudent financial management of the council’s Housing Revenue Account, we have managed to set aside money to help our tenants who may be struggling to come to terms with welfare reform changes.”
Over the past 12 months, the council has committed to building 5,000 new homes by 2035; identified and approved a number of new build development sites; progressed plans to demolish tower blocks; approved a rent increase of five per cent for 2019/20; expanded the empty homes purchase scheme to buy back 32 properties a year; and introduced an open market purchase scheme which will see around 100 properties a year being added to the council housing stock for people to rent.
The council has committed to maintaining a core contingency reserve fund of £1.2 million from the HRA.
Councillor McVey said: “Our economic regeneration plans are the most ambitious of any council in Scotland and improving our housing stock is at the heart of these plans.
“We are committed to investing in our existing homes to make them warm, modern and energy efficient for local people to live in.
“We also want to help transform communities to make them fit for the future.”