Humza Yousaf plans £1m community fund to boost cost-of-living support

SNP leadership contender Humza Yousaf has said he would launch a £1 million fund to stop community organisations which help people through the cost-of-living crisis going under.

Ahead of a visit to a community cafe in Edinburgh on Thursday, Mr Yousaf also said he would work with SNP MPs in Westminster to “hold the Tories to account” for surging costs, insisting UK Government ministers are “sitting on their hands”.

His comments follow the announcement that average annual energy bills will rise from £2,500 to £3,000 as UK Government support ends.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Yousaf said: “With the fall in (wholesale) energy prices, the Tories must deliver a fall in energy bills and properly tax windfall profits.

Humza Yousaf taking part in the first SNP leadership hustings in Cumbernauld.Humza Yousaf taking part in the first SNP leadership hustings in Cumbernauld.
Humza Yousaf taking part in the first SNP leadership hustings in Cumbernauld.

“As first minister, I will work with the SNP’s Westminster team to hold the Tories to account for this cost-of-living crisis.

“We should not tolerate that level of poverty in an energy-rich nation.

“Only with the full powers of independence can we properly support households through these difficult periods and change the broken energy system once and for all.”

But Mr Yousaf also said he wants to “help with rising costs now”.

He added: “I want to help vital community organisations that are helping people with support for their own costs.

“Community action is vital to improving people’s health, homes and quality of life.

“Having been a volunteer myself I know how important it is to people when someone offers a helping hand.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“A huge number of these lifeline organisations are facing a cost-of-operating crisis, struggling with energy costs, rent and other running costs.

“To support these third sector organisations get through this cost crisis, as first minister I will propose a new £1 million Scottish Government fund focused on small, community-based voluntary organisations providing cost-of-living support, income maximisation services and community support.

“Because if we allow these organisations to go under, the costs of picking up the pieces will be much higher.”

It is unclear where the funding will come from, and Deputy First Minister John Swinney has repeatedly warned the entirety of Scotland’s budget for the next year has been allocated.

Mr Yousaf’s announcement comes after the first of 13 leadership hustings events, pitting the Health Secretary against Finance Secretary Kate Forbes and former community safety minister Ash Regan.

Ms Forbes will meet with families supported by the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain in Glasgow later on Thursday.