Hard-up households in Falkirk district have received nearly £4million from the Scottish Welfare Fund since its creation in April 2013.
A total of 13,045 crisis grants and 5515 community care grants have been provided by the fund in the Falkirk Council area, the latest Scottish Government figures show.
Between July and September last year, 620 crisis grants averaging £81 and 235 community care grants averaging £757 were awarded in Falkirk district. The number of local applications to the fund during that period increased by 11% compared with the same quarter in 2016.
The figures reveal that across Scotland, one in seven applications for a crisis grant – which is most often spent on food and essential heating – was due to delays in benefit payments.
Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson said: “While it’s heartening to see that so many people in Falkirk district are receiving a vital lifeline from the Scottish Welfare Fund in their time of need, these figures also demonstrate the ongoing misery caused by Tory austerity and the UK Government’s callous welfare reforms.
“Given the Scottish Government’s limited powers on welfare matters, this fund is one of the best ways we can protect families and individuals in Falkirk district who have been abandoned by the Tories in Westminster – and the SNP will continue to support those who are struggling to get by.
“It’s particularly encouraging to see that 100% of the crisis grants paid out in Falkirk district last year were processed within two working days, making this a quick and effective source of emergency funding for some of the most vulnerable people in our community at a particularly desperate time in their lives.”
Across Scotland, 275,690 households have benefited from 651,490 grants totalling £148million, with more than a third of those helped by the Scottish Welfare Fund being families with children.