Scottish Government crisis grants soar during lockdown
The amount paid out in crisis grants to people in need increased by more than three quarters in the early stages of lockdown, according to the latest Scottish Government figures.
The Scottish Welfare Fund awarded £5.2 million in crisis grants between April and June 2020, up 77% on the same period last year.
The number of crisis grants rose by 63% over the quarter, peaking in April when twice as many were awarded than in April 2019.
The most common reason given by applicants, covering 45% of cases, was that they had exhausted their usual income and benefits.
Shirley-Anne Somerville, social security secretary, said: “These latest figures demonstrate that we were right to ensure our Scottish Welfare Fund was increased - just one of many actions taken to ensure there is additional financial support to people coping with the economic impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19).
“The leading reason people apply for emergency help is that their benefits or other income has been spent.
“While the Scottish Government works to improve provision for children and families facing poverty, we continue to have to spend money to protect the most vulnerable in our communities from UK benefit cuts.
“We are introducing the Scottish Child Payment to tackle child poverty head on, opening for applications next month, with the first payments to start from February 2021. Together with the Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods, this will provide over £5,200 of financial support for families by the time their first child turns six – and more than £4,900 for second and subsequent children.”