Growing Number of Scots Applying for Emergency Welfare Funds
October 31, 2018
The number of applications for emergency welfare funding across Scotland is on the rise, according to the government’s latest official figures.
More than 300,000 people have now been supported financially in some way by the Scottish Welfare Fund since it was first created in 2013.
A total of £173 million has been paid out during that time, with the purpose being to give people in extremely difficult financial situations a chance to cover the costs of paying for food, bedding, kitchen appliances, heating and other essential living expenses.
The latest data suggests that a growing number of Scots are finding themselves in need of emergency support from the government through the Scottish Welfare Fund.
A 2 per cent rise was recorded in the number of people applying to the fund between the second quarter of 2017 and the same period of 2018, with £8.2 million worth of grants awarded between April and June of this year.
The number of people on low incomes applying for crisis grants is understood to have increased by around 7 per cent between the second quarter of last year and the same period in 2018.
Commenting after the release of official figures relating to the welfare fund, social security secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said she was “dismayed” that so many Scots have found themselves in the position of needing to apply for emergency financial support.
Ms Somerville also said that she expects to see further increases in the number of people applying for emergency support and crisis grants in the coming months as a result of the UK government’s rollout of its controversial Universal Credit benefit system.
“It is a sad fact of life for many families that an unexpected expense can completely disrupt a carefully managed household budget. People should never have to face a choice between eating or heating,” she said.
“We are spending over £125 million this year alone trying to allay the very worst effects of the UK government’s harmful welfare cuts and protect those on low incomes.”
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