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Scottish Welfare Fund

New statistics show rise in number of households receiving help.

The number of households applying for welfare assistance has risen by a third in the last year, according to new statistics.

Scottish Welfare Fund Statistics to 30 September 2014 show that during the most recent quarter (July to September 2014):

  • 52,400 applications were made to the Scottish Welfare Fund, an increase of 33 per cent on the same quarter last year;
  • 25,800 Crisis Grants were awarded, 32 per cent more than the same quarter last year. These were predominantly for food, heating costs and other living expenses, with an average award value of just over £70;
  • 11,200 Community Care Grants were awarded, 51 per cent more than the same quarter last year. These were predominantly for home furnishings and white goods, with an average value of just under £600.

Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice Alex Neil said: “That anyone should be live in poverty in a wealthy country is completely unacceptable and we’ll continue to tackle poverty and inequality to create a more prosperous and fairer society.

“Scottish Welfare Fund grants are a lifeline for people in crisis to buy the everyday items, or cover basic living costs that so many of us take for granted. This is why we are taking steps to establish the Fund in law through the Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill.

“120,000 households in Scotland, one in twenty, have now been helped by the Scottish Welfare Fund in its first 18 months of operation. The increase in applications over the last year is due, in part, to work done by local authorities and advice services to raise awareness of the Fund.

“We have allocated £33 million a year to the Scottish Welfare Fund to make sure that we continue to reach out to households in the most deprived areas - around half of awards are made to applicants in the 20 per cent most deprived areas of Scotland. Many families are paying a heavy price for the UK Government’s welfare reforms and this investment will help to mitigate the effects of these cuts on some of our most vulnerable households.”

Notes To Editors

Scottish Welfare Fund Statistics to 30 September 2014 are available at:

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Social-Welfare/swf

In April 2013, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) abolished two elements of the Social Fund - Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans - and transferred funds previously spent on them to Scottish Ministers. In its place, the Scottish Government established the Scottish Welfare Fund (SWF). The Scottish Welfare Fund is a national scheme run by local authorities, based on guidance from Scottish Ministers. The guidance has been developed in partnership with COSLA, local authorities and other stakeholders.

Scottish Government funding for the Scottish Welfare Fund is £33 million in 2013-14, £33 million in 2014-15 and £33 million in 2015-16.

Stage 2 consideration of the Welfare Funds (Scotland) Bill took place at the Welfare Reform Committee yesterday.

 

Channel website: https://www.icaew.com

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