Scottish Welfare Fund awards total more than £148m

Low income families have received awards of more than £148 million since the creation of the Scottish Welfare Fund in April 2013.

The Scottish Welfare Fund comprises community care grants and crisis grants.

Latest figures show that between July and September 2017 councils received 42,760 applications for crisis grants, an increase of 3% on the same quarter the previous year.

The figures also show that 14% of those applications were due to delays in benefit payments. The most common expenditure was on food, essential heating expenses and other living expenses.

There were 16,370 applications for Community Care Grants over the same period to local councils. The most common request was for help to buy floor coverings, white goods and furniture.

The publication also revealed that families with children accounted for 33% of households that have received Scottish Welfare Fund support through either a community care grant or crisis grant since April 2013.

Social security minister Jeane Freeman said: “The Scottish Welfare Fund recognises the very real hardships that are being endured everyday by families across Scotland and is a lifeline for those struggling to get by.

“We know the impact the UK government’s harsh welfare cuts is having on people and have repeatedly warned that the chaotic roll out of Universal Credit, particularly the in-built delay for first payment, is pushing more households into crisis.

“We are using the limited powers we do have to help people facing hardship due to UK government decisions, by introducing Scottish Universal Credit choices which aims to give people back some control.

“We will continue to do all we can to support hard pressed families and individuals and remain absolutely committed to a welfare system that treats people with respect and dignity.”