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Welfare ammunition

NORTHERN isles MP Alistair Carmichael has promised to argue Shetland’s corner with the government over the impact of welfare reform.

Carmichael met with Shetland Islands Council on Thursday to hear how 170 households could lose up to £20 a week from the bedroom tax alone.

He promised to take figures compiled by the council over the next three months to the Department of Work and Pensions to ensure the impact of welfare reform on islanders is minimised.

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He said he would look at how the discretionary housing fund is calculated, would examine the effect on rural areas and keep a close eye on the way claimants are assessed as being fit for work.

SIC convener Malcolm Bell said the council would try to provide him with all the ammunition he needed to demand changes that would make a big difference in the isles without costing much to the government.

Meanwhile a study by Sheffield Hallam University has shown that Shetland will be the least affected by welfare reform in Scotland.

While the average Shetland claimant will be £270 worse off every year, people in Glasgow, the worst hit area, would lose £650.

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