Jackie Baillie has called on the Scottish Government to ensure that the Scottish Welfare Fund is fully funded after new analysis has revealed that the fund – which provides crisis and community care grants to low income families across the country – is set for a £3 million real terms cut. The news follows the revelation from the MSP last year that West Dunbartonshire Council’s Scottish Welfare Fund had decreased by £24,000 between 2016/17 and 2017/18 and Argyll and Bute had suffered a cut of around £4,000.
The independent Scottish Fiscal Commission has forecast that the fund’s budget from the SNP government will be frozen over the period, causing the fund to be eroded by inflation. At the current rate of inflation, the fund will suffer a £3 million real terms cut by 2023/24.
“The Scottish Welfare Fund is a vital lifeline for many of the most vulnerable people in our communities. A real terms cut to its budget by this SNP government will be felt by those who can least afford it.
“Foodbank usage has dramatically increased and life expectancy is falling, this fund has never been more needed.
“The fund has already been cut in real terms in both West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute. Both local authorities have areas of real deprivation and their ability to help those most in need has already been impacted.
“This SNP government must stop these cuts and ensure vulnerable people get the help that they desperately need.”