Scottish Welfare Fund tops £81m of support for vulnerable households

Margaret Burgess
Margaret Burgess

More than 178,000 vulnerable households, including around 59,000 families with children, have received essential help to buy everyday products through the Scottish Welfare Fund.

The fund consists of Crisis Grants – which provide a safety net to low income households in a disaster or emergency – and Community Care Grants, which help people to live independently.

Since the scheme began in April 2013, £81 million has been spent with households receiving Crisis Grants and households receiving Community Care Grants.

The latest statistics, which break down grants between July to September 2015, show:

• Over the quarter 24,700 households received Crisis Grants averaging around £77 each. They were mostly for food and energy costs and were claimed because of an emergency.

• Around 10,900 households received Community Care Grants averaging around £570 each. These awards were most likely to be claimed by people looking for help to stay in or set up their own home, or families facing exceptional pressures and included help for floor coverings, cookers, washing machines and fridges, and furniture.

Going forward, the Scottish Welfare Fund will be even more tailored to those most in need, with the Scottish Government agreeing a new distributing model with COSLA which will see money allocated to local authorities based on their levels of deprivation.

Welfare minister Margaret Burgess said: “In the face of UK government cuts the Scottish Government has spent more than £81m through the Scottish Welfare Fund to help people cope in desperate situations.

“From food and beds, to energy bills and furniture, the fund is reaching out to people who may be struggling to afford items that many of us take for granted.

“So we can make sure the Scottish Welfare Fund continues to act as a lifeline to people in need, we will be reallocating funding in the future based on deprivation levels in local authorities and will continue to work with councils and other stakeholders to publicise the grants.

“After the recent storms, people should also be aware that crisis grants are available to those in areas affected by flooding.

“Our Welfare Funds (Scotland) Act, which will come into effect in April, will be the first substantive example of social security-related legislation to pass through the Scottish Parliament. Despite their limited scope, our new powers will provide opportunities to develop different policies for Scotland which are fairer and help tackle inequalities and poverty.”

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