New statistics show number of households in North Lanarkshire receiving help

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 18:03 on 30 January 2015.
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Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice (above) said the figures were "unacceptable".
FIGURES released by the Scottish Government earlier this week show that over 5,000 applications for welfare assistance were made in the final quarter of 2014.

Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Alex Neil MSP confirmed that a total of 5,337 applications for welfare assistance were made throughout North Lanarkshire in the last quarter. 

Confirming the statistics, Mr Neil said the situation was “completely unacceptable” in a country like Scotland.

Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice Alex Neil said: “That anyone should live in poverty in a wealthy country is completely unacceptable and we’ll continue to tackle poverty and inequality to create a more prosperous and fairer society.”

Scottish Welfare Fund Statistics to 30 September 2014 show that during the most recent quarter (July to September 2014), applications made to the Scottish Welfare Fund increased by 90 per cent compared with the same quarter last year.

The Scottish Welfare Fund is a national scheme run by local authorities, based on guidance from Scottish Ministers. It was set up in April 2013 after the Department for Work and Pensions scrapped Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans, and transferred funds previously spent on them to Scottish Ministers. 

Mr Neil added: “The Scottish Welfare Fund is a lifeline for people to buy the everyday items or cover basic living costs that so many of us take for granted. 10,210 households in North Lanarkshire have now been helped by the Scottish Welfare Fund in its first 18 months of operation.

“The Scottish Government has allocated £33 million a year to the Scottish Welfare Fund to make sure that we continue to reach out to households in the most deprived areas. Many families are paying a heavy price for the UK Government’s welfare reforms and this investment helps to mitigate the effects of these cuts on some of our most vulnerable people.”

Scottish Government funding for the Scottish Welfare Fund was set as £33 million in 2013-14, £33 million in 2014-15 and a further £33 million for 2015-16.
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