Commenting on today’s Scottish Welfare Fund statistics, Dr Mary Anne MacLeod, Research and Policy Officer at A Menu for Change, said:
“Councils are being forced to top up the Scottish Welfare Fund, which has been cut in real-terms since 2013, in order to meet increasing demand. More and more Scots are being pulled into crisis and a greater number of people have been forced to turn to this lifeline than ever before.
“It isn’t right that as the number of Scots needing crisis payments for food continues to soar, the fund for emergency payments hasn’t gone up in six years. The Scottish Welfare Fund provides a safety net for those who can’t put food on the table and it has to be strengthened to reflect the growing demand.
“Our research shows that for the system to be more effective, councils need more funding in order to help reach everyone who needs emergency help, as well as to refer people to longer-term support which could help prevent them reaching crisis point again.
“Funding provisions for local authorities must now reflect the growing number of people who are being pulled into crisis and need this emergency cash to stay afloat.”
- Scottish Welfare Statistics out today: https://www2.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Social-Welfare/swf
- Key points:
- 2018-19 allocation: £32,995,240; 2018-19 spend: £35,280,668 (Table 40)
- 100% of this year’s SWF budget, including last year’s underspend, but excluding additional funds from local authorities, was spent by 31 March 2019 (stats bulletin page 2)
- The most common Crisis Grant expenditure was on food, essential heating expenses and other living expenses; since 2017/18 the number of awards of food has increased by 8% (page 18)
- Since the scheme began in April 2013, over half – 182,530 – of all awards have gone to single person households (54%), and over a fifth to single parent households (22%) (Table 62)
- A Menu for Change is a partnership project run by Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, Nourish Scotland, Oxfam Scotland and the Poverty Alliance, and funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. It aims to tackle the causes of food insecurity by working in communities and providing practical evidence-based research.
- A Menu for Change’s research report into the SWF: https://menuforchange.org.uk/what-we-do/research/