Jackie Baillie MSP has called for more money to be given to Local Authorities for the Scottish Welfare Fund as new statistics from the Scottish Government reveal that demand for the Fund is increasing, at the same time as there are real terms cuts to its’ funding.
In 2018/19, local authorities received 193,230 applications for crisis grants – 11 per cent more than the previous year – and made 125,155 awards – an increase of 5 per cent on the year before.
West Dunbartonshire is one of thirteen local authorities that spent more than 100% of the available budget for 2018/19, it is also one of the eight local authorities who overspent last year.
The figures were revealed just a day after a new report from the Social Metrics Commission said that one in five people in Scotland are living in poverty, with the level increasing over the past two years.
“Despite increasing demand for the Welfare Fund, local authorities are being starved of the cash that they need to fund it.
“Poverty is rising across the country and thousands of families are reliant on foodbanks. For many people Crisis and Community Care Grants are vital for helping to prevent them from falling deeper into trouble.
“It is crucial that the Scottish Government provide additional money for this fund, rather than cutting the budgets, to enable local authorities to continue helping those most in need.”