Support for low income families

Scottish Welfare Fund helps hundreds of thousands of families.

More than 285,000 households in financial difficulty have received Scottish Government grants to help them over the past five years.

People in low income households have received almost £156 million from the Scottish Welfare Fund since it started in April 2013, including £7.7 million between October and December 2017. A third of the households receiving grants were families with children.

The majority of SWF awards come from Crisis Grants, which help people who are in need because of emergency or crisis, with around one in eight applications being made because of late or delayed benefit payments.

The latest figures show that 27,570 Crisis Grants were made between October and December 2017, a 6% increase on the same quarter in 2016.

Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman said:

“The Scottish Welfare Fund provides a vital lifeline, supporting low income households experiencing emergencies and crisis situations. For many, it provides much-needed financial support for the everyday items that no one should be denied simply because of their hardships.

“It is unacceptable that people find themselves in these situations through no fault of their own. Under UK Government welfare cuts, money is being taken from the pockets of low income families, pushing them into crisis, debt and poverty. The Scottish Welfare Fund is one part of the £100 million we spend annually to try and mitigate that and provide support to the people of Scotland at a time of need.”


The most common reason for Crisis Grant applications is emergency need, for example food and heating. This category makes up 83% of applications.

The SWF also provides Community Care Grants to help vulnerable people set up home or continue to live independently in their community, and families facing exceptional pressure.

More information and the full statistical publication is available online.


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