Scottish Welfare Fund payments rise to £37.6 million.
Funding of £37.6 million was allocated to support people and families on low incomes in times of need in the 12 months to 31 March 2020 – an increase of 7% on the previous year.
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.
Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:
“This is further evidence that the UK Government’s benefits cuts are hitting the poorest in Scotland the hardest, with more and more people struggling just to make ends meet and being pushed to rely on food banks, or suffer from the stress of debt and rent arrears.
“That’s without taking into consideration the significant financial impact that coronavirus (COVID-19)is having on some of those earning the least in our society.
“We took early action in March to more than double the Scottish Welfare Fund to £80.5 million this year in response to the expected impact of coronavirus, and we 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 we would encourage anyone in need of support to apply to the Scottish Welfare Fund.”