Almost 200,000 Scots apply for crisis grants

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Citizens Advice Scotland said the figures should be a wake-up call for policymakers.

30th July 2019 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

Almost 200,000 people applied for crisis grants from the Scottish Welfare Fund in the past year, figures have shown.

In 2018/19, local authorities received 193,230 applications for crisis grants and made 125,155 awards – an 11% rise on the previous year’s numbers.

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) said the figures showed policymakers needed to do more to boost incomes and tackle the cost of living, and urged people to check if they could be getting more in social security payments or paying less in bills at their local Citizens Advice Bureau.

The charity also called for a review to ensure the fund has the appropriate budget, after it used 100% of its budget for the first time this year.

CAS social justice spokesperson Mhoraig Green said: “The Citizens Advice network in Scotland offers advice and advocacy on behalf of hundreds of thousands of people each year, and our advisers help thousands of Scots to apply for crisis support from the Scottish Welfare Fund.

“It should frankly shock people across the country that there were almost 200,000 applications for a crisis grant in Scotland in the last year.

“Today’s figures show that more needs to be done to tackle the causes of income crisis, particularly reducing the five-week wait for Universal Credit payments and high deductions to repay debt that leave people without enough to live on.

“More should also be done to increase awareness of the support available from the Scottish Welfare Fund, as well as reviewing whether the levels of funding are adequate to meet demand.”

Ms Green urged anyone who was struggling to make ends meet to attend their local Citizens Advice Bureau, where staff can check they are getting all the benefits and reductions they are entitled to.