Anger over rise in Stirling emergency payments

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CLOSE to 56 emergency payments were paid every week to struggling Stirling residents last year.

During 2018/19 a total of 2,920 Scottish Welfare Fund crisis and care grants were paid to hard-up families and individuals – a rise on the previous year’s figures.

The figures have been condemned by local SNP MSP Bruce Crawford. He said: “The Scottish Welfare Fund is a vital lifeline for many people facing poverty or personal crisis.

“The fact that so many households in Stirling are in need of emergency financial help is appalling, and a sad indictment of the UK government’s record on austerity and welfare changes.”

The figures, which show a steady increase in the number of payments since 2017, were released last week by the Scottish government.

Mr Crawford, who represents Stirling at Holyrood, believes continuing austerity measures from Westminster are to blame.

He added: “The UN Special Rapporteur on poverty described it as outrageous that the Scottish Government had to divert funds to protect people from Westminster’s mess.

“The SNP will continue to do everything in our power to tackle poverty and support low income families.

“It’s time for the Tories to end their austerity agenda and stop forcing Stirling families into poverty.”

The Scottish government introduced the Scottish Welfare Fund in 2013 as part of a £125 million annual package to mitigate the impact of Westminster austerity and benefit cuts. Since its launch, the fund has paid out more than £200 million to support over 336,000 households across Scotland, with a third of recipients being families with children.

The latest figures also reveal that only 66 percent of all applicants in Stirling were accepted for payments through the Welfare Fund.

Local MP Stephen Kerr has been contacted for a response but was unable to comment.

Featured image credit: The National

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