Over 150,000 vulnerable households, including around 50,000 families with children, have received essential help to buy everyday products like nappies, food and cookers through the Scottish Welfare Fund.
The Scottish Welfare Fund consists of Crisis Grants – which provide a safety net to low income households in a disaster or emergency – and Community Care Grants, which help people to live independently.
Since the scheme began in April 2013, £65 million has been spent, with 105,000 households receiving Crisis Grants and 72,000 households receiving Community Care Grants.
The latest statistics, which break down grants between April 2014 to March 2015, show:
• Over the year 69,000 households received Crisis Grants averaging around £70, they were mostly for food and energy costs and were claimed because of an emergency. They included:
o Almost £3.9 million of grants were given out for food – up from £2.4 million in 2013/14;
o £23,000 was spent on nappies, an increase from £17,200 in 2013/14;
o Nearly £1.3 million was spent on energy costs, up from £826,000 the previous year.
• 43,000 households received Community Care Grants averaging around £600. These awards were most likely to be claimed by people looking for help to stay in or set up their own home, or families facing exceptional pressures. They included:
o Nearly £7.2 million in grants awarded for the refit of carpets, up from £5.5 million in 2013/14;
o Almost £8.2 million spent on cookers, washing machines and fridges, compared to £6.9 million in 2013/14;
o Around £630,000 was spent on clothing and shoes, an increase of £90,000 from the previous year.
Community Resources Network Scotland works to support and encourage the provision of reuse furniture as a viable and sustainable alternative to the purchase of new goods. Reuse is not necessarily second best and new is not always better quality.
Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess said: “These grants are a vital lifeline for people in crisis with more than 150,000 households benefitting from a share of the £65 million Scottish Welfare Fund. It is helping people in desperate situations buy everyday items like food, shoes and beds, and keeping them afloat during worrying times. The Scottish Government will continue to work with councils to publicise this scheme and reach those who are struggling to be able to afford items that many of us take for granted.
“While the UK Government presses ahead with its austerity agenda and continues to widen the gap in inequalities, the Scottish Government will continue to try to militate against the worst of the impacts of the UK cuts, including investing £296 million in mitigation schemes, extending our free childcare and encouraging employers to pay the Living Wage.
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