35,000 receive welfare help

12 Feb 2014 03:01 PM

Report shows vulnerable groups affected.

A report on the type of grants awarded during the first six months of the Scottish Welfare Fund has been published yesterday.

The Scottish Welfare Fund comprises ‘Community Care Grants’, which help people to live independently and ‘Crisis Grants’, which provide a safety net in a disaster or emergency.

Decisions on grant applications are made by Local Authorities, who operate the fund. In the first nine months of the scheme a total of over £18.7 million has been provided. However, the report focusses in detail on the first six months, and shows:

  • 11,300 households received a total of 12,000 awards for Community Care Grants, averaging £600 per award. These awards were most likely to be claimed by people to help them stay in their own home or people who moving from an institutional organisation. Claims were mostly for floor coverings, washing machines, cookers and beds.
  • 27,000 households received a total of 33,000 Crisis Grant awards, averaging £65 per award. These awards were mostly for food and heating costs and were claimed because of an emergency.

One in five households who claimed grants contained children and one in seven had an ‘identified vulnerability’ such as mental health issues, a physical disability or being a lone parent.

Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess said:

“It is heart breaking to see the impacts of welfare reforms laid bare, with people coming forward for help to buy everything from food to shoes to beds.

“This is the first report into how the Scottish Welfare Fund is being used and shows that demand for grants is increasing.

“These figures show over £18 million has now been claimed and we are expecting that to increase further as awareness of the fund grows. Today's report also highlights that there are still some variations between councils and we are working with them to ensure that is improved.

“It is absolutely imperative that vulnerable people in Scotland are protected and cared for during these tough economic times. We are also keen to learn lessons from the operation of the fund and make any changes to guidance that might be required, to ensure that help gets to those who need it most.

“Welfare is, unfortunately, a reserved matter. But we will do everything we can to make sure that people are being provided with a safety net in their time of need.

“In contrast, if Scotland were to become independent, we would have full control of the welfare system. Only then would Scotland have the powers needed to guarantee that our most vulnerable families and groups are properly protected.”

View the report here: