Welfare fund of £372,760 for Argyll and Bute

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The Scottish Government has allocated £372,760 to help people in times of need in Argyll and Bute.

The allocation from the newly-created Scottish Welfare Fund will be used to provide community care grants and crisis grants to the disabled, elderly, lone parents and other vulnerable groups.

The Argyll and Bute funding is part of a package of support worth £33 million announced by deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon.

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.

Argyll and BUte MSP Michael Russell said: “This fund will be welcome in Argyll and Bute. £372,760 will be allocated here to help protect some of our poorest and most vulnerable people.

“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.”

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.

The £33m consists of £23.8m transferred from the DWP to the Scottish Government, plus the additional £9.2 million announced in October.

Community care grants will help families, the disabled and older people live as independent a life as possible and stay out of institutional care.

Crisis grants will be small grants in the region of £50 given to groups such as lone parents and the unemployed to help them out in times of crisis.