News

336,000 households helped in times of crisis

Published: 30 Jul 2019 13:03

Scottish Welfare Fund annual spend hits £35 million.

People in crisis made more than 165,000 successful applications to the Scottish Welfare Fund in the last financial year, according to new statistics.

The Fund paid out £35 million, including £10.4 million in Crisis Grants to people in financial emergency, such as those struggling on low incomes or benefits  – a 14% increase on 2017-18. The money helped people with essentials such as food, heating costs and household items.

A further £24.8 million in Community Care Grants helped those facing extreme financial pressures with one-off costs for purchases including beds, washing machines and cookers.

The Scottish Welfare Fund is part of an annual package of over £125 million to mitigate against the impact of UK Government welfare cuts. Since its launch in April 2013, the Fund has paid out more than £200 million to support over 336,000 households, with a third of recipients being families with children.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“We would much rather these resources were invested in anti-poverty measures than protecting our people from another government’s cuts – a positon the UN Special Rapporteur on Poverty recently described as outrageous and unsustainable.

“The fact that so many households in Scotland are in need of emergency financial help is appalling, and a sad indictment of the UK Government’s record on austerity and welfare changes.

“As their welfare cuts continue to cause harm and damage, we continue to do our best to mitigate against them and provide financial support to low income families and carers through new social security benefits.”

Background

The Scottish Welfare Fund statistics are on the Scottish Government’s website

The Crisis Grant aims to help people in financial emergency, such as those struggling on low incomes or benefits

Community Care Grant aims to, among other things, help people set up home or help families facing exceptional pressures

In the UN Special Rapporteur on Poverty, Professor Philip Alston praised Scotland’s “ambitious” schemes for addressing poverty, including the Fairer Scotland Action Plan and the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan. He noted Scotland’s “promising social security system, guided by the principles of dignity and social security as a human right, and co-designed with claimants on the basis of evidence”

The Scottish Government’s response to the Special Rapporteur’s report shows UK Government welfare cuts have increased the risk of deprivation for low-income families across Scotland