Reported by The Courier- the news we share raises awareness of equality issues being reported in the media.
More Scots are being forced to apply for crisis grants to help feed their families and heat their homes, it has emerged.
Since the Scottish Welfare Fund was set up in 2013, £173 million has been given to people in need of help to buy essential items, with 306,305 households helped out.
But applications for crisis grants – often seen as a last resort for those in need – have soared in many areas, with Fife among the hardest hit.
The number of crisis grants awarded in the Kingdom has more than doubled in the last five years, rising from 4,045 in 2013/14 to a 10,680 last year.
The 2017/18 figure is also 14% up on the year before, and there are concerns the situation is likely to get worse still, given the substantial number of claimants waiting to be transferred to Universal Credit.
Mid Scotland and Fife Green MSP Mark Ruskell described the introduction of Universal Credit as a “shambles” which has put “considerable strain” on local authorities and thrust many families into hardship.
“Universal Credit is responsible for this massive increase in Fife’s crisis grant expenditure, as people seek assistance in the face of rent arrears, potential homelessness, and a lack of food.
“The Conservatives’ so-called ‘welfare reform’ is nothing other than a vindictive attack on our welfare state, and despite the rhetoric, low wages often mean work is no longer a way out of poverty.
“The Scottish Parliament recently passed its Social Security Bill, which will ensure that the benefits we now have responsibility for will be delivered in a dignified manner.
“Unfortunately, the bulk of social security powers are still reserved to Westminster, and until that changes I fear that many in our communities will continue to be victimised by the UK Government.”