MSP welcomes additional welfare funding

Local MSP Adam Ingram has welcomed the announcement of additional funding for the newly created Scottish Welfare Fund to provide Community Care Grants and Crisis Grants to the disabled, elderly, lone parents and other vulnerable groups in Scotland.

The money is awarded to people facing a financial crisis and in need of short term help, and to help people get essential household items to set up or stay in their own homes, rather than be in care.

In October, the Scottish Government announced an additional £9.2 million for the fund, to reinstate funding cuts by Westminster in recent years – taking the total value of the fund up to £33 million.

South Ayrshire Council has been allocated a total of £712,905.

Commenting on the announcement SNP member for Carrick, Mr Ingram said: “Now more than ever it is imperative that vulnerable people in Scotland are protected and cared for during these tough economic times.

“Westminster has responded to this recession by imposing drastic welfare cuts which will affect some of our most vulnerable groups, including the elderly, the disabled and the unemployed.

“The Scottish Government will not turn its back on vulnerable people. The new Scottish Welfare Fund will ensure that these groups are provided with the necessary grants to assist them in times of need.

“Welfare is, unfortunately, a reserved matter. That means we are limited to arguing against unfair welfare reforms, and mitigating the impact on people wherever that is possible. But the scale of the UK government’s changes means we simply cannot help everyone who is set to be affected.

“In contrast, if Scotland were to become independent, we would have full control of the welfare system. Only then would Scotland have the powers needed to guarantee that our most vulnerable families and groups are protected.”

The new £33m Scottish Welfare Fund will be operational from April 2013. It will be a national scheme delivered through local authorities, to combine the advantages of local delivery while maintaining a national character.