A total of 306,305 low income households across Scotland have been helped through the Scottish Welfare Fund, which consists of Community Care Grants and Crisis Grants, since the SNP Government introduced it in April 2013.
Figures show that 7,010 Community Care Grants and 21,325 Crisis Grants were awarded within North Ayrshire up until June of this year.
A total of £173 million has now been used to support individuals and families across Scotland through the Scottish Welfare Fund, helping them during times of crisis to buy everyday essential items like food, nappies or toiletries and to cover heating costs or other living expenses. Grants are also given to people facing disaster or emergency situations, such as flooding as well as helping families facing exceptional pressure with one-off costs for items such as a washing machine or cooker.
Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP said:
“It is a sad fact of life for many families that an unexpected expense can completely disrupt a carefully managed household budget. People should never have to face a choice between eating or heating.
“The Scottish Welfare Fund was created to provide a vital lifeline for people in times of need, allowing them to cover the everyday necessities.
“And while I am pleased that the fund has been able to help over 300,000 households across the country since its start, I am dismayed that so many people find themselves in the position of needing to access emergency help.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“As the UK Government persists with the roll out Universal Credit, forcing more and more families into poverty, we will continue to see an increase in people having to make use of the Scottish Welfare Fund.
Because of continued Tory austerity, Scotland will have lost £3,700 million in welfare benefits by the end of this decade and the SNP Government is spending over £125 million this year alone trying to protect those on low incomes.
“Since the Scottish Welfare Fund began, over half of those households receiving awards (54%) were single person households with no children, and one third of those households (33%) included children. I am glad that we are able to make a difference to their lives but mitigation is not a lasting solution – prevention is. Sadly, I heard nothing in Monday’s Tory Budget to indicate such intentions.”