News

Emergency funding helps over 300,000 households

Published: 30 Oct 2018 10:39

Helping people through difficult times.

A total of 306,305 low income households have been helped to pay for essential items such as food and heating through emergency grant funding since 2013.

A total of £173 million has now been paid through the Scottish Welfare Fund, which helps people during times of crisis 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 as well as helping families facing exceptional pressure with one-off costs for items such as a washing machine or cooker.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“It is a sad fact of life for many families that an unexpected expense can completely disrupt a carefully managed household budget. People should never have to face a choice between eating or heating.

“The Scottish Welfare Fund was created to provide a vital lifeline for people in times of need, allowing them to cover the everyday necessities.

“And while I am pleased that the fund has been able to help over 300,000 households across the country since its start, I am dismayed that so many people find themselves in the position of needing to access emergency help.  

“As the UK Government persists with the roll out Universal Credit, forcing more and more families into poverty, we are going to continue to see an increase in people needing such support.  Scotland will have lost £3.7 billion in welfare benefits a year by the end of this decade.

“The Chancellor’s announcement of extra funding towards Universal Credit does not get close to mitigating the damaging impact of this policy and families will still have less money in their pockets and a minimum five week delay before getting Universal Credit

“Therefore we will not stop calling on the UK Government to halt the roll out of this fundamentally flawed system. We are spending over £125 million this year alone trying to allay the very worst effects of the UK Government’s harmful welfare cuts and protect those on low incomes.

“As a Government we will always do what we can to support hard pressed families who, through no fault of their own, are struggling to make ends meet.”  

Background

The Scottish Welfare Fund comprises of two grants:

Community Care Grant - aims to, among other things, help people set up home in the community, or help families facing exceptional pressures.

Crisis Grant - aims to help people on a low income who are in crisis because of a disaster or an emergency. A disaster is something like a fire or a flood. An emergency might be when money has been stolen.

Statistics show that from 1 April to 30 June 2018, 9,415 Community Care Grants and 29,645 Crisis Grants were made by local authorities, with the most common expenditure for a community care grant being floor coverings, beds and bedding, and kitchen appliances such as cookers, fridges, freezers and washing machines. For crisis grants, awards were for food, essential heating and other living expenses. This takes the total number of households helped to 306,305 since 2013 when the Fund was established.

Since the scheme began over half of those households receiving awards (54 per cent) were single person households with no children, and one third of those households (33 per cent) included children.