Greenock and Inverclyde’s MSP, Stuart McMillan, has commented on Scottish Welfare Fund payments rising to £37.6 million to support people and families in low incomes in times of need.
In the 12 months to 31 March 2020, Scottish Welfare Fund payments included £12.9 million in Crisis Grants – up 24% – and £24.7 million on Community Care Grants.
The fund received 296,870 applications for help, with the most common reason families gave being their benefits or other income had been spent – up 27% on the previous year.
Commenting, Stuart said:
“The Scottish Welfare Fund helps people and families here in Inverclyde who may be facing financial hardship.
“Between April 2019 and March 2020, 2,575 households in Inverclyde received a Crisis Grant, representing £240,851 worth of support, and 970 Community Care Grants were also awarded in Inverclyde, worth £482, 315.
“While this support is welcome, it’s sad that the most common reason families gave for needing help being their benefits or other income had been spent.
“This is further evidence that the UK Government’s benefit cuts are hitting the poorest in Scotland the hardest – with more people struggling to make ends meet and having to rely on food banks, or suffer from the stress of debt and rent arrears.
“That’s without taking into account the significant financial impact that COVID-19 is having on some of those earning the least in our communities.
“I’m pleased that the Scottish Government took action in March to more than double the Scottish Welfare Fund to £80.5 million this year in response to the expected impact of COVID-19, and a have made an additional £110 million available to support people struggling to access food during the pandemic.
“That funding will help local authority partners continue to support people at this time and I would encourage anyone in need of support to apply to the Scottish Welfare Fund.”