News

Emergency funds paid out to 326,000 households

Published: 30 Apr 2019 11:32

Financial help in time of crisis.

Nearly a third of a million low income households have accessed emergency funding to help with the costs of essentials such as food and heating in the past six years.

The Scottish Welfare Fund has paid out in excess of £190 million to more than 326,000 households since its first payment on 1 April 2013.

Grants are also given to people facing disaster or emergency situations like flooding, and to families facing exceptional pressure with one-off costs for items including beds, washing machines or cookers.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“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.

“We are using our limited powers to ensure Universal Credit in Scotland gives people some control over their payments, and our Financial Health Check is providing personalised advice on money matters to help those on low incomes maximise their finances.

“That is why we will again provide local authorities with £38 million in 2019-20 to support hard pressed families who, through no fault of their own, need help to simply get by.”

Background

The Scottish Welfare Fund statistics are available online.

The Scottish Welfare Fund comprises of two grants:

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

2. 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 October to 31 December, 17,025 Community Care Grants and 45,335 Crisis Grants applications were made to 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
  • Since the scheme began over half of those households receiving awards were single person households with no children, and one third of those households included children
  • The Draft Scottish Budget for 2019/20 commits £33 million to the Scottish Welfare Fund for grants, and £5 million is provided to local authorities for administration