Local Authorities across Scotland have been given a £30million boost in funding.
£20million from the Scottish Welfare fund is to be used flexibly and £10million to provide free school meals.
Bill Scott, Chair of the Poverty and Inequality Commission, urged councils to use the funding flexibly to target those most in need. He said:
“We welcome this much needed additional help for low income families and individuals. The funding for Free School Meals during the Christmas, February and Easter breaks will come as a great relief for many hard pressed parents.
“We would urge local authorities to use the flexibility given to them by the Scottish Government to ensure that every penny of extra help available gets to those who need it most.”
It is intended that local authorities will use the funding to those experiencing financial hardship. This could be through grants, addressing food insecurity, or support for fuel costs.
Shirley-Anne Somerville, Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People in the Scottish Government said:
“We know a healthy meal during the school day helps children to learn – but right now it’s an essential to support families at such a difficult time. This money will offer nutritious free meals for children or allow families to get food they desperately need.
“Those experiencing financial hardship can currently apply to the Scottish Welfare Fund and seek advice on which benefits they can receive.
“However, this will not be suitable for everyone: some people are not eligible for crisis grants or already receive the full benefits they are entitled to, while others may need immediate support with food and essentials.”
The Scottish Welfare Fund
The Scottish Welfare Fund helps families and people in Scotland who are on low incomes.
You can apply for a:
- Crisis Grant – if you’re in crisis because of a disaster (like a fire or flood), or an emergency (like losing your money or job, or an unexpected expense)
- Self-Isolation Support Grant – if you’ve been asked to self-isolate by Test and Protect because of coronavirus (COVID-19) and will lose income as a result
- Community Care Grant – to help you or someone you care for to start to live, or to carry on living, a settled life in the community