The Scottish Welfare Fund is helping low income households through difficult times, with grants totaling £116 million allocated since the scheme was established.
The objectives of the scheme are to provide a safety net in a disaster or emergency, when there is an immediate threat to health or safety; and to enable people to live independently or continue to live independently, preventing the need for institutional care.
New figures show that during the first six months of 2016/17, £18.1 million has been awarded to households in need. £178,942 was provided to Inverclyde households between July to September.
Whilst this figure represents a 16% drop in expenditure for Inverclyde compared to the same quarter last year, there was a 17% increase in the number of applicants from the same time period.
The Scottish Government allocated £806,080 to Inverclyde Council to implement the Scottish Welfare Fund for 2016/17, whilst Inverclyde Council also carried over an underspend of £55,405 from the previous year.
Commenting on the figures, Stuart McMillan MSP said:
“The Scottish Welfare Fund is a vital lifeline for people in times of need, allowing them to cover the everyday necessities, such as food, nappies or heating, that many of us take for granted. Nobody chooses to rely on grants but at times of crisis it’s essential the right support is there to help those who need it most.
“It is clear that the damaging and continuing UK Government cuts to welfare, and the roll-out of Universal Credit in Inverclyde, are pushing more and more people into poverty.
“The Scottish Government is spending £100 million every year try to mitigate the very worst effects of these harmful cuts. We have seen a rise in the number of households receiving Scottish Welfare Fund grants in Inverclyde and we will continue to do all we can to support hard pressed families and individuals who through no fault of their own are struggling to make ends meet.”