Towards the end of 2017 there was a rise of 3% in the number of applications for Crisis Grants in Scotland.
A delay in payments was the reason for 14% of the claims.
Jeane Freeman, Social Security Minister in the Scottish Government said:
“The Scottish 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 delay for first payment, is pushing more households into crisis.”
Scottish Welfare Fund Statistics: Update to 30 September 2017 showed that a total of 58,440 applications to the Scottish Welfare Fund were received. This included 16,370 Community Care Grants and 42,760 Crisis Grants.
These grants administered by local authorities are for everyday items like flooring, one off buys for white goods or if there has been an emergency due to fire, flood or theft. The number of applications due to delay in welfare payments has increased.
Jeane Freeman said:
“We are using the limited powers we do have to help people facing hardship due to UK Government decisions, by introducing Scottish Universal Credit choices which aims to give people back some control.
“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.”
£8million was paid out through the Scottish Welfare fund from July to September 2017.
“At the level of individual local authorities, eight local authorities have spent over half of their funds for the year: Dundee City (52%), Glasgow City (52%), North Lanarkshire (52%), Perth and Kinross (52%), Angus (53%), North Ayrshire (55%), Inverclyde (57%) and East Dunbartonshire (60%) . The remaining 24 local authorities have spent 50% or less of their funds for the year.” As at September 2017.
The most common Crisis Grant expenditure was on food, essential heating expenses and other living expenses, and the number of payments for food has increased by 25% since the same quarter last year.
Around a third of all payments from the Scottish Welfare fund have gone to households with children.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame