New figures show that 26,790 awards have been made to low income households across North Ayrshire through emergency grant funding since the SNP Government introduced its Scottish Welfare Fund in 2013.
The Scottish Welfare Fund helps to pay for essential items such as food and comprises Community Care Grants – which help people to live independently – and Crisis Grants, which provide a safety net in a disaster or emergency.
Figures show that between March 2013 and April of this year 6,610 North Ayrshire households received crucial support through Community Care Grants and a whopping 20,180 Crisis Grants were awarded to North Ayrshire Council residents.
Shockingly, 19% of applications for Crisis Grants in North Ayrshire over the first quarter of 2018 were made due to delays in benefit payments (315 out of 1,655).
Over 54% were single person households with no children, and 33% of those households included children.
A total of £164.8 million has now been paid through the Scottish Welfare Fund across Scotland, which helps people 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
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“While I am pleased that the SNP Government’s Scottish Welfare Fund has been able to help tens of thousands of households across North Ayrshire since 2013, I am also appalled that the damaging and continuing UK Government cuts to welfare are pushing more and more people into poverty.
“A third of Scottish Welfare Fund recipients are households with children, reflecting the sad reality of growing up under a variety of austerity-obsessed UK Governments, from Labour to the LibDem/Tory coalition and now the Tories in their full glory. The SNP Government is spending over £125 million this year alone trying to alleviate the very worst effects of these harmful cuts and will continue to do everything within its means to support hard pressed families and individuals who, through no fault of their own, are struggling to make ends meet.
“If you live in North Ayrshire and wish to find out if you are eligible to receive assistance from the Scottish Welfare Fund, please visit: www.north-ayrshire.gov.uk/benefits/scottish-welfare-fund.aspx or get in touch with the Council on 01294 310001.”