Food, cookers and fridges for vulnerable families.
More than 164,000 vulnerable households, including around 54,000 families with children, have received essential help to buy everyday products like nappies, food and cookers through the Scottish Welfare Fund.
The fund consists of Crisis Grants – which provide a safety net to low income households in a disaster or emergency – and Community Care Grants, which help people to live independently.
Since the scheme began in April 2013, £73 million has been spent with 114,000 households receiving Crisis Grants and 81,000 households receiving Community Care Grants.
The latest statistics, which break down grants between April 2015 to June 2015, show:
• Over the quarter 21,000 households received Crisis Grants averaging around £75 each. They were mostly for food and energy costs and were claimed because of an emergency. They included:
o Almost £1 million of grants given out for food;
o £7,000 was spent on nappies, toiletries and household products;
o Nearly £310,000 was spent on energy costs, a decrease of eight per cent compared to April to June 2014.
• Nearly 11,000 households received Community Care Grants averaging around £560 each. These awards were most likely to be claimed by people looking for help to stay in or set up their own home, or families facing exceptional pressures. They included:
o Nearly £1.6 million in grants awarded for the refit of carpets;
o Almost £2.1 million spent on cookers, washing machines and fridges;
o Over £120,000 was spent on clothing and shoes, a decrease of 24 per cent compared to April to June 2014.
More than two-fifths of grants were made to vulnerable households such as people with mental health problems, lone parents, disabled people, or those suffering from a chronic illness.
Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess said:
"The Scottish Welfare Fund is a lifeline for people across the country, helping people in desperate situations buy everyday items like food, shoes and beds, and keeping them afloat during worrying times.
"The Scottish Government will continue to work with councils to publicise this scheme and reach those who are struggling to be able to afford items that many of us take for granted.
"In the face of the UK Government's continued budget cuts we are working hard to tackle poverty and our £296 million investment in welfare mitigation measures, extension to childcare and our work to encourage employers to pay the Living Wage, is helping to increase income levels in Scotland.
"We need to close the inequality gap that exists in Scotland, which is why over the last few months through our Fairer Scotland discussion we have been calling on people with direct experience of poverty and exclusion to put forward their views on creating a fairer and more equal Scotland. These conversations are crucial because we are not looking for quick fixes or temporary measures but long lasting change that can benefit the whole nation."
The Scottish Welfare Fund Statistics to 30 June 2015 are available at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Social-Welfare/swf
The Scottish Welfare Fund is a national scheme, underpinned by law, and delivered by local authorities. The Welfare Funds (Scotland) Act 2015 is the first substantive example of social security-related legislation in Scotland. Scottish Ministers brought forward legislation in this area following recommendations made by the Calman Commission, suggesting responsibility for the fund be devolved.
Find out how to take part in the Fairer Scotland discussion here: http://fairer.scot/