Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison has announced an additional £2.4 million in funding to help people struggling to afford food and other essentials.
The funds will go to four organisations to distribute mainly on a ‘cash-first’ basis to people in immediate need in the face of the cost of living crisis.
A focus on crisis payments and shopping cards will allow people to choose for themselves what they need.
Ms Robison announced the funding on a visit to Prospect Community Housing in Wester Hailes, Edinburgh, where she heard how staff are helping residents through debt and income advice services.
“I know people are struggling with the cost of food and other essentials right now, and this additional funding will get more support to some of those who need it most this winter.
“We are working with partners to prioritise urgent cash-first action when it comes to food insecurity and this will take some of the pressure off food banks.
“This funding has the potential to directly reach 7,500 people, and many more will benefit than this, as the Corra Foundation and Fareshare will between them distribute it further to an estimated 900 organisations.
“We want people to make sure they are getting all the support they are entitled to, so I encourage anyone who is struggling financially to get advice on what support they may qualify for – through their local authority, a local advice service, or Social Security Scotland as well as checking out our cost of living website.”
Carolyn Sawers, Chief Executive at the Corra Foundation said:
“This £1 million contribution to the Household Hardship Fund from the Scottish Government provides a dignified cash first approach for those most impacted by the cost of living.
“Organisations which have received money through the fund have told us it is making a significant difference helping families with the essentials of food, fuel, and household items.
“Corra is committed to working alongside others in tackling the long-term issues of poverty. The Household Hardship fund is an important step in responding to the crisis that people across Scotland face today.”
Sally Thomas, Chief Executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), said:
“Housing associations and co-operatives are doing everything they can to help tenants keep their heads above water, heat their homes and put food on their table this winter. However our members are increasingly reporting that tenants are facing impossible decisions on and between household bills and food as costs soar.
“It’s simply not right that anyone in Scotland should be going hungry this winter. As we continue to face this unprecedented crisis, this money will be critical to helping ensure social landlords can provide a response to food insecurity that is tailored to the needs of their tenants and communities, maintaining dignity and choice.”
Allocations from the £2.4 million:
- £1,000,000 to the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations for cash-first responses to food insecurity via their members
- £1,050,000 to Corra Foundation for their Household Hardship Fund, providing grants to organisations working to alleviate poverty with an emphasis on cash-first responses food insecurity
- £100,000 to Citizens Advice Scotland to expand their shopping card pilot, offering an alternative to a food bank referral
- £250,000 to FareShare for regional purchasing where needed to supplement the supply from surplus and donations
In 2022-23 the Scottish Government has allocated around £3 billion in a range of measures which will help mitigate the impacts of the cost of living crisis on households, of which £1 billion is for support only available in Scotland and not elsewhere in the UK.
The Scottish Government consulted on a draft plan on ending the need for food banks between October 2021 and January 2022, and the plan will be published in the coming months.