South Scotland

More help requests from Dumfries and Galloway tenants

Applications for financial help from tenants in Dumfries and Galloway have increased more than three-fold since welfare reforms were introduced.

A total of 42 bids were made to the council for discretionary housing payments in January 2013.

They have risen to 350 applications a month over the last year, since the introduction of the so-called bedroom tax.

The council's benefits team has asked for extra staff to cope with demand.

They have asked for £39,000 from the local authority's welfare reform mitigation fund to pay for the equivalent of 1.5 full-time workers.

In a report to the welfare reform sub committee, councillors were told the extra officers are needed to assess and award payments as the current system is not sustainable.

It added: "Customers requesting assistance from this fund are often in crisis and any delay in deciding on the level of support to award gives unnecessary stress."

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