The Scottish government’s welfare fund paid out £10.4 million last year to people who found themselves in acute financial difficulty over the course of the last financial year.
That represents a 14 per cent increase in the overall scale of ‘crisis grant’ payouts made throughout Scotland as compared to the previous 12 months.
A total of 165,000 people successfully applied to the government for access to money allocated via the Scottish Welfare Fund last year, the latest data demonstrates.
The money that’s distributed via the fund is intended to help people either on low incomes or on state benefits to cope with the financial challenges they’re facing.
In excess of 300,000 people living across Scotland have successfully applied for support through the fund since it was first created in April 2013.
According to the Scottish government, the welfare fund is designed in part to help people who are left in dire financial situations as a result of welfare cuts introduced over the past decade by the UK government.
“The fact that so many households in Scotland are in need of emergency financial help is appalling, and a sad indictment of the UK government’s record on austerity and welfare changes,” said Shirley-Anne Somerville, who is social security secretary within the Scottish government in Holyrood.
“As their welfare cuts continue to cause harm and damage, we continue to do our best to mitigate against them and provide financial support to low income families and carers through new social security benefits.”
Roughly a third of all the recipients of money through the Scottish Welfare Fund are families with children, according to the official figures.
As well as emergency cash, the welfare fund is also designed to support people who are struggling to find the money to cover one-off costs such as payments for beds, cookers or washing machines.
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A Scottish charity has called for the government to change some of its rules around Universal Credit (UC) payments to help people avoid falling into debt they’ll struggle to get out of.
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