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Financial help for Scottish families in need

Written by: Emma Lunn
The Scottish government has announced a £41m Winter Support Fund for low-income households.

The fund will help those on low incomes, children and people at risk of homelessness against a backdrop of rising living and fuel costs.

Key elements of the package include £10m to help people who are struggling to pay fuel bills, £25m flexible funding to help local authorities support wellbeing and respond to financial insecurity based on local needs, and £6m for third sector partners to support low-income families

Shona Robison, Scotland’s social justice secretary, said: “We know that many families are struggling financially due to the increased costs they are facing right now. This package of measure aims to ease some of that strain by providing direct support to people.

“The Scottish Government has invested £2.5bn to support low-income households in 2020-21, with around £1bn focused on supporting children as a cornerstone of our national mission to tackle child poverty and homelessness.

“That includes doubling the Scottish Child Payment to £20 per child per week, with our plans to do so set out in the forthcoming Scottish Budget.

“We are passing on every penny of the £41m we received in UK government consequentials. However, this in no way makes up for the recent £20-a-week cut to Universal Credit, which has taken an estimated £460m from the pockets of the people in Scotland who need it most.”

Support for those struggling with fuel bills will include access to fuel top-up vouchers, advice to manage fuel debt, and support for those in remote and rural areas.

The Scottish government says the Winter Support Fund will continue to promote cash-first responses in line with its draft national plan on ending the need for food banks as a primary response. In some cases, help may also be offered to tackle social isolation and support mental health.

The Scottish funding comes from the UK Government’s £500m Household Support Fund announced last month. In England the funding will be distributed by councils in England which will issue small grants to meet daily needs such as food, clothing, and utilities.

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