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27 July, 2021 Open access

Local authorities underspent Scottish Welfare Fund’s £60 million budget by £10 million in the year to 31 March 2021

However, despite the underspend, crisis grant expenditure increased 50 per cent compared to the previous year to reach £20 million

Annual Scottish Welfare Fund statistics for 2020/2021 show that £10 million of the estimated £60 million budget for the year remained unspent by 31 March 2021.

In Scottish Welfare Fund statistics: Annual Update: 2020/21, the Scottish Government provides annual figures for applications, awards, expenditure and review data, principally for community care grants and crisis grants.

While the government highlights that local authorities had a budget of £59.5 million available for awards in 2020/2021 - made up of £57.5 million (including a £22 million Covid-19 allocation) plus a £2 million underspend carried forward from 2019/2020 - it reports that councils spent just £49.5 million (83 per cent) by 31 March 2021. This compares to spending up to 31 March 2020 when councils had awarded grants that exceeded the available budget for the year of £34.9 million.

In addition, the statistics provide further breakdowns of spending on community care grants and crisis grants in 2020/2021 which include that -

NB - figures are also provided on Self-Isolation Support Grant applications, awards and expenditure from October 2021 (when the scheme began) to May 2021 which show (in table 74 of the data tables accompanying the statistics release) that just 11,331 awards were made (out of 26,778 applications received in the period) with a value of £5.67 million.

For more information, see Scottish Welfare Fund statistics: annual update 2020-2021 from gov.scot