The concurrent pressure arising from the loss of key pandemic supports such as the Universal Credit uplift and furlough scheme, alongside increasing living costs, is likely to increase household financial insecurity over the Winter of 2021-22.
The Scottish Government has committed to strengthening support to low income households through the £41 million available in Barnett consequentials from the Household Support Fund. Measures include £25 million in flexible funding to local authorities, £10 million through national partners who are tackling fuel poverty, and a further £6 million through third sector partners that support low income households.
Evaluation of the support delivered through the £70 million funding provided to local authorities in 2020-21 indicated that this flexible approach enabled local authorities, working alongside other local partners, to respond to emerging pressures and tailor support to meet local needs. Activities delivered included: emergency income, emergency food, emergency fuel, income maximisation, other activities to support wellbeing, activities targeted at marginalised groups, and partnership working. A report of this evaluation is available.
The flexible investments were bolstered by national interventions, and many of these supports have been maintained or enhanced in 2021-22. Our Coronavirus recovery strategy sets out our vision for recovery and the actions we will take to address systemic inequalities made worse by the pandemic, make progress toward a wellbeing economy and accelerate inclusive person-centred public services.
A number of coronavirus restrictions remain in place, and the Scottish Government continues to monitor and review the situation. In deploying this funding, the latest advice on staying safe and protecting others should be followed.
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