Stirling SNP MSP and SNP candidate for Stirling Alyn Smith MEP have hit out at Tory welfare reforms following the revelation that almost 12,000 people in the Stirling area have received a Crisis Grant from the Scottish Welfare Fund.
The Scottish Welfare Fund is funded by the Scottish Government and administered by local authorities.
Following a parliamentary question from Mr Crawford on the number of local people affected, the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government responded:
“The most recent published statistics show that since April 2013, Stirling Council has awarded 11,880 crisis grants and 4,705 community care grants to 6,025 unique households. The total value of crisis grants awarded by Stirling Council in that period is more than £1 million.”
Commenting, Bruce Crawford said:
“I am staggered by this number – that’s nearly 12,000 people in my constituency who have had to rely on Scottish Government intervention simply because they can’t afford basic living costs.
“This coincides with a rise in food bank usage in recent years, and a recent report from Heriot-Watt University points to the reforms and cuts from the current Tory Government as one of the main causes for forcing people to having to use food banks and receive Crisis Grants.
“Any politician who has defended this system should hang their heads in shame, Stirling and Scotland deserves so much better.”
Alyn Smith added:
“This election is crucial, particularly for the most vulnerable in our communities. It’s a chance to stop this Brexit chaos, so that we can get back to focussing on the things that matter to the daily lives of the people of Scotland.
“Those in receipt of welfare from this current Tory Government have the odds stacked against them. Delays in Universal Credit payments, people being unfairly sanctioned, and cuts to the value of benefits have pushed more and more people into deeper poverty.
“The UK Government should follow the example of the Scottish Government who, with the few powers we have devolved over welfare, have introduced a social security system with dignity, fairness and respect at its very heart.”