Scottish councils see applications for crisis grants increase by 11 per cent
Between April and June 2017, councils received 42,005 applications, an increase of 11 per cent on the previous year
Scottish councils received 42,005 applications for crisis grants from the Scottish Welfare Fund between April and June this year, an increase of 11 per cent on the same quarter in 2016.
Statistics show 14 per cent of these applications were due to delays in benefit payments.
- Affordable homes to be made more accessible to over 60s
- Communities to have a say in how £100m of council funds are spent
Most applicants requested support for living expenses, including food and essential heating costs.
Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman said: “It is not acceptable that this type of support covering the basic costs of living is needed by so many people.
“This welfare fund recognises the very real hardships that are being endured everyday by families across Scotland and is a lifeline for those struggling to get by.
“We know the impact the UK Government’s harsh welfare cuts is having on people and have repeatedly warned that the chaotic roll out of Universal Credit, particularly the in-built six week delay for first payment, is pushing more households into crisis.
“We will continue to do all we can to support hard pressed families and individuals and remain absolutely committed to a welfare system that treats people with respect and dignity.”
Overall, more than 265,000 households have received a share of £140m since the creation of the Scottish Welfare Fund in April 2013.
Adam Lang, head of communications and policy at Shelter Scotland, said these funds are a “vital lifeline” of support for many struggling households.
He added: "An 11 per cent increase in applications for crisis grants means that 42,005 households needed help to keep a roof over their heads in the three months to June 2017.
“Worryingly, there was a 29 per cent increase in the recorded reason for applying for a crisis grant as being ‘emergency - nowhere to stay and may resort to rough sleeping’.
“There was also a 38 per cent increase in Community Care Grant applications for the reason of ‘helping people to stay in the community – help to avoid becoming homeless’.
“We are very concerned that unless the roll-out of universal credit is halted and fixed, many more households will be forced into crisis, get into arrears and have to depend on the welfare fund.”
The care system shouldn’t be a postcode lottery because the stakes are too high, says Laura Beveridge
Martin Cawley of the Big Lottery Fund says strong partnerships are key to the success of the Scottish Government's Child Poverty Bill
The Trussell Trust is concerned the situation will worsen leading up to Christmas when demand for food traditionally spikes
The Accounts Commission praised the local authority but said councillors need to play a more prominent role in managing change