Cash problems for Scottish services

Up to half of all housing support services in Scotland have faced
cash flow problems since the introduction of the Supporting People
programme earlier this year, new research reveals.

A survey of Supporting People providers, published this week by the
Scottish Council for Single Homeless (SCSH), reveals that four out
of five providers experienced delays in payments and 40 per cent
received a lower than expected grant.

The survey of 104 providers, who account for an estimated 11 per
cent of all Supporting People spend in Scotland, also finds that
one in five still had no contract in place by August 2003, four
months after the programme was introduced.

Andrew Waugh, policy officer for SCSH and author of the report,
said: “Cash flow problems are clearly a major headache for some
providers, and these have been caused by delayed payments or
smaller than expected payments from councils.

“Although there has been a welcome increase in overall funding for
housing support services, there are clearly a number of serious
difficulties. If we are to meet the objective of reducing
homelessness substantially in Scotland, it is vital that support
services are in place with their funding secured.”

The Scottish executive has written to SCSH, expressing reservations
about its findings. A spokesperson said: “It would be a pity if the
goodwill which has been established among all parties working
towards making the Supporting People project succeed were damaged
as the result of the views of such a small, unrepresentative sample
of housing support providers being given disproportionate

Supporting People is the new system of funding for supported
housing providers. Local authorities allocate cash based on the
amounts they are given by the Scottish executive. 

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