The SNP Government’s Scottish Welfare Fund made 6,085 payments to people in North Ayrshire in the last financial year, 2018/19 new figures show.
A total of 1,480 Community Care Grants and 4,065 Crisis Grants were awarded in North Ayrshire over the year, while across Scotland the figures were 40,485 and 12,155 respectively.
The Crisis Grant aims to help people in financial emergency, such as those struggling on low incomes or benefits.
Community Care Grant aims to, among other things, help people set up home or help families facing exceptional pressures.
The money helped people with essentials such as food, heating costs and household items.
The SNP introduced the Scottish Welfare Fund as part of a £125 million annual package to mitigate the worst impacts of UK Government austerity.
Since its launch in April 2013, the Fund has paid out more than £200 million to support over 336,000 households across Scotland, with a third of recipients being families with children.
Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“The Scottish Welfare Fund is a vital lifeline for many people facing poverty or personal crisis.
“The fact that so many households in North Ayrshire are in need of emergency financial help is appalling and a sad indictment of the UK Tory Government’s record on austerity and welfare cuts.
“The SNP would prefer these resources were invested directly to tackle poverty rather than protecting people from Tory austerity.
“Indeed, UN Special Rapporteur on Poverty Professor Philip Alston described it as “outrageous” that the SNP Government has to divert funds to protect people from Westminster’s cuts.
“The SNP Government will continue to do everything in our power to tackle poverty and support low income families. It’s time for the Tories to end their austerity agenda and stop forcing North Ayrshire families into poverty.”
UN Special Rapporteur on Poverty praised Scotland’s “ambitious” schemes for addressing poverty, including the Fairer Scotland Action Plan and the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan. He noted Scotland’s “promising social security system, guided by the principles of dignity and social security as a human right, and co-designed with claimants on the basis of evidence.”
The Special Rapporteur’s report shows UK Government welfare cuts have increased the risk of deprivation for low-income families across Scotland.