Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on tackling financial insecurity over winter

Guidance to local authorities to help tackle financial insecurity and support households with food and fuel over the winter


This guidance is to assist local authorities in supporting individuals who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic and concurrent challenges faced by winter and the threat of a no-deal exit from the EU utilising the flexible funding announced on 20 October 2020.

The purpose of this flexible funding is to enable local authorities to adapt to the emerging needs of households, considering an income based and proactive approach to support wellbeing and reduce the need for food aid. This complements existing investment to support people and communities at risk as a result of the pandemic.

Local authorities will also be able to supplement local budgets for the Scottish Welfare Fund to meet demand, provide financial support to tackle food insecurity or to meet fuel costs, boost local funding for Discretionary Housing Payments, and take other action to support wellbeing. This is further detailed in sections 2 and 3. The flexible funding is not restricted under No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF).

An initial £26.95m has been allocated, with further funding to be agreed for Free School Meal support during the Easter break which falls in the 2021-22 financial year. Grant offer letters have been issued to local authorities that detail the funding allocation available and conditions for delivery and reporting from 1 October 2020 – March 2021.

This guidance provides:

  • background, including who is at risk
  • guiding principles on how resources can be targeted and deployed;

Annexes give further detail on public health advice and additional signposting resources including business offerings and volunteer deployment.

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