SCOTTISH WELFARE FUND UNDERLINES NEED FOR SCOTLAND TO GAIN WELFARE RESPONSIBILITIES

> The urgency of Scotland gaining the ability to make its own welfare choices was underlined today as new statistics show more people than ever are being provided help through the Scottish Welfare Fund.
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> The figures show that in Dumfries & Galloway, between July and September 2014, there were 1,394 applications to the Scottish Welfare Fund, a 7% increase on the same period in 2013. Crisis Grants experienced a 10% increase, with applications numbering 1,017 in July – September 2014.
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> Commenting, Aileen McLeod MSP said:
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> “The fact that the Scottish Welfare Fund is providing more help than ever before in Dumfries & Galloway shows that people are now more aware of the support available to them.
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> “However it is a scandal that in a country as wealthy as Scotland, there are still so many people living in poverty – and an increasing demand on these emergency funds.
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> “The Scottish Welfare Fund is an important example of the kind of action the Scottish Government has taken using the powers it currently has to try and mitigate Westminster’s welfare cuts.
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> “But as long as welfare decisions remain at Westminster, Scotland’s least well off will remain at risk of further Westminster cuts supported by Labour and the Tories. We need to be able to make our own welfare choices in Scotland, and the only way to secure these powers is by electing a strong team of SNP MPs in May.”
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> Notes to editors:
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> From April 2013, changes to the DWP Social Fund scheme meant that Crisis Loans and Community Care Grants stopped. These have been replaced by the Scottish Welfare Fund (SWF), delivered by councils. The fund provides two types of grant:
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> • Crisis Grants to provide a safety net when someone experiences a disaster or emergency situation, such as a fire or flood and there is an immediate threat to health and safety.
> • Community Care Grants to enable independent living or continued independent living and prevent the need to go into care. A CCG may also be able to help a family facing exceptional pressure.
> • To apply for a Crisis Grant or a Community Care Grant you must be 16 or older and on a low income.
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