Official figures reveal that from when the Scottish Welfare Fund scheme began on 1 April 2013 until 31 December 2017, 285,720 individual households have received awards from the SNP Government totalling £155.8 million.
Scotland’s Chief Statistician released the figures, which showed that a third of households receiving a Scottish Welfare Fund award were families with children, while just over half were single person households.
The Scottish Welfare Fund comprises of Community Care Grants – which help people to live independently – and Crisis Grants, which provide a safety net in a disaster or emergency.
Between 01 October and 31 December 2017 alone, local authorities received 15,240 applications for Community Care Grants, and awarded £5.5 million for items such as floor coverings, furniture and kitchen appliances. During the same quarter, local authorities received 40,115 applications for Crisis Grants, and awarded £2.1 million for items such as food and essential heating costs.
The annual budget for Scottish Welfare Fund awards in 2017/18 was £34.4 million.
Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“The fact that the Scottish Welfare Fund helped almost 300,000 households in less than five years shows the impact of UK Tory Government welfare cuts. Only today, they denied that this has anything to do with the rise in people using foodbanks. I doubt many are taken in by those denials.
“This is why the SNP Government has sought to mitigate the worst of the Tory cuts, whilst developing a new social security system for Scotland that will more effectively meet the needs of people needing support.”