Welfare fund continues to support thousands of Scots families, new figures reveal
Extra cash to support vulnerable Scots living in poverty has helped over 150,000 households, new figures show.
Scottish Government figures reveal the Scottish Welfare Fund has awarded over £65 million since the scheme began in April 2013 in the wake of the UK government’s first round of welfare cuts.
The fund has two elements: Crisis Grants which provide a safety net to vulnerable people in times of crisis or emergency; and Community Care Grants supporting elderly and disabled people to live independently in their own homes.
Over a third of grants went to vulnerable people with mental health problems, lone parents, disabled people, or those suffering from a chronic illness.
Welfare minister Margaret Burgess said: “These grants are a vital lifeline for people in crisis with more than 150,000 households benefitting from a share of the £65 million Scottish Welfare Fund.
We are also asking people for ideas on how we can create a fairer, healthier, happier Scotland - Margaret Burgess
“It is helping people in desperate situations buy everyday items like food, shoes and beds, and keeping them afloat during worrying times.
“The Scottish Government will continue to work with councils to publicise this scheme and reach those who are struggling to be able to afford items that many of us take for granted.
“While the UK government presses ahead with its austerity agenda and continues to widen the gap in inequalities, the Scottish Government will continue to try to militate against the worst of the impacts of the UK cuts, including investing £296 million in mitigation schemes, extending our free childcare and encouraging employers to pay the living wage.
“As part of our drive to tackle inequalities we are also asking people for ideas on how we can create a fairer, healthier, happier Scotland where opportunities, wealth and power are spread more equally.”
Councillor Harry McGuigan, Cosla's community and wellbeing spokesperson, said: “There is a growing number of people using the fund to buy the most basic of items like food, beds and cookers.
“Councils and the advice sector make sure those in need know where to get this vital help. Given the planned social security cuts, the fund will come under considerable pressure as more people require help over the next few years.
“Councils are committed to providing the best support to those in need that we can, both direct financial help, as well as advice and referrals.”