Sharon McDougall - 31st October 2019 - 2 minutes to read
Campaign groups are calling for there to be an increase to amounts of money being distributed via the Scottish Welfare Fund after it was revealed that more and more people are applying for its emergency funds.
A total of just over 50,000 application were made for Scottish Welfare Fund crisis grants between April and June of this year, which represents a 12 per cent increase on the same three months of last year.
In most cases, the crisis grants were being requested by people who otherwise couldn’t afford to or would be seriously struggling to buy food for themselves or their families.
With that in mind, a campaign group comprised of various charity organisations, has called for more money to be made available to the Scottish Welfare Fund and its crisis grants system.
The group is called ‘A Menu for Change’ and it brings together charities including Oxfam Scotland, the Poverty Alliance, Nourish Scotland and the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland.
The campaigners point out that while many more crisis grants are being distributed via the welfare fund, its budget has remained unchanged since it was first introduced in 2013.
Given the effects of inflation over the past six years, the suggestion is that the amount of money available to the welfare fund has effectively been cut despite demand clearly increasing.
However, although its members want to see more money being given out as crisis grants, A Menu for Change has also made clear that it wants to see action taken across Scotland to tackle the underlying causes of poverty and the reasons so many Scots can’t afford to eat.
“Low wages, zero hours contracts and long delays in accessing key benefits are preventing people from building resilience to sudden changes in income, trapping them in a cycle of poverty and food insecurity,” said Margaret MacLachlan, a project manager with A Menu for Change.
“The Scottish Welfare Fund is a vital lifeline, ensuring in many cases, those who have run out of money do not run out of food. For it to be at its most effective, it needs to be enough to reach everyone who needs it.”
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