City handed £2m to provide crisis grants

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A FUND of £2 million has been given to the city council to provide crisis grants to people in need.

The cash from the Scottish Government’s new Scottish Welfare Fund will be used to provide short-term help to the disabled, elderly, lone parents and other vulnerable groups.

It replaces funding which had previously come from the UK government through the Department of Work and 

But council health and social care convener Ricky Henderson has warned welfare reforms due to come into effect next month would put the new fund under immediate pressure.

In 2011-12, under the old system, 10,500 crisis loans and 2340 community care grants were paid to people in Edinburgh, totalling £1.765m.

Cllr Henderson said: “We are expecting demand for these grants to increase because of welfare changes like the bedroom tax.

“The question remains how much demand will increase by and will it exceed the money we have to play with. It will be a concern if we help a lot of people, then find the money is exhausted but there are still more people needing help.”