News

Financial help for families in need

Published: 29 Oct 2021 10:45

£41 million Winter Support Fund for low income households.

Funding to help people struggling financially during the winter is part of a new £41 million support package.

The Winter Support Fund will help those on low incomes, children and people at risk of homelessness against a backdrop of rising living and fuel costs.

Key elements of the package include:

  • £10 million to help people who are struggling to pay fuel bills
  • £25 million flexible funding to help local authorities support wellbeing and respond to financial insecurity based on local needs
  • £6 million for third sector partners to support low income families

Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison said:

“We know that many families are struggling financially due to the increased costs they are facing right now. This package of measure aims to ease some of that strain by providing direct support to people.

“The Scottish Government has invested £2.5 billion to support low income households in 2020-21, with around £1 billion focused on supporting children as a cornerstone of our national mission to tackle child poverty and homelessness.

“That includes doubling the Scottish Child Payment to £20 per child per week, with our plans to do so set out in the forthcoming Scottish Budget.

“We are passing on every penny of the £41 million we received in UK Government consequentials.

“However, this in no way makes up for the recent £20-a-week cut to Universal Credit, which has taken an estimated £460 million from the pockets of the people in Scotland who need it most.”

Support for those struggling with fuel bills will include access to fuel top-up vouchers, advice to manage fuel debt and support for those in remote and rural areas.

The Winter Support Fund will continue to promote cash-first responses in line with our draft national plan on ending the need for food banks as a primary response. In some cases help may also be offered to tackle social isolation and support mental health.

In addition to helping people heat their homes and meet rising food costs, funding will help to ensure no-one is faced with rough sleeping this winter. 

Background

The funding comes from consequentials of the UK Government’s £500 million Household Support Fund. 

The Scottish Government’s Covid Recovery Strategy sets out our vision for recovery and the actions we will take to address systemic inequalities made worse by Covid, make progress towards a wellbeing economy, and accelerate inclusive person-centred public services.

The Scottish Government is providing unparalleled support across the early years for low income families through Best Start Foods, Best Start Grant and Scottish Child Payment, worth £5,300 by the time a family’s first child turns six.

The Scottish Government is also delivering new Bridging Payments for around 150,000 school age children, providing £520 this year and next, and delivered a £130 pandemic support payment for around 500,000 low income households this month.