Supporting households in times of crisis
The Scottish Welfare Fund is helping low income households through difficult times, with grants totaling Â£116 million allocated since the scheme was established.
New figures show that during the first six months of 2016/17, £18.1 million has been awarded to households in need; this is £2.1 million more than was awarded during the same period last year.
Since the scheme was set up in April 2013, a total of 230,000 low income households in Scotland have been awarded support. Over half of those households (54 per cent) were single person households with no children, and one third of those households (33 per cent) included children.
The fund helps people during times of crisis, and can help them to buy everyday essential items like food, nappies or toiletries and to cover heating costs or other living expenses. Grants are also given to people facing disaster or emergency situations, such as flooding.
People can be given support to live in their own homes where there is a risk of homelessness or going into care or for families facing exceptional pressures – where funding can cover larger essential one-off items like washing machines or cookers.
Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman said: “Nobody chooses to rely on grants but at times of crisis it’s essential the right support is there to help those who need it most. The Scottish Welfare Fund is a vital lifeline for people in times of need, allowing them to cover the everyday necessities, such as food, nappies or heating, that many of us take for granted.
“Since it was set up, when the UK Government withdrew this vital help, this Scottish fund has awarded grants to around 230,000 households across the country. I am pleased we make the choice to spend our resources to support people who desperately need it, but we need to be clear that in a country as rich as Scotland, this vital support is needed because of real hardship that arises directly from the UK Government’s austerity agenda.
“It is clear that the damaging and continuing UK Government cuts to welfare are pushing more and more people into poverty. The Scottish Government is spending £100 million every year try to allay the very worst effects of these harmful cuts. We have seen a rise in the number of households receiving Scottish Welfare Fund grants and we will continue to do all we can to support hard pressed families and individuals who through no fault of their own are struggling to make ends meet.”