The Scottish Welfare Fund made 3,070 payments to people in Midlothian and 2,685 payments to people in East Lothian in the last financial year, new figures show.
A total of 520 Community Care Grants and 2,550 Crisis Grants were awarded in Midlothian, and a total of 765 Community Care Grants and 1,920 Crisis Grants were awarded in East Lothian over the year.
The money helped people with essentials such as food, heating costs and household items.
The SNP introduced the Scottish Welfare Fund in 2013. The Fund is part of a £125 million annual package to mitigate the impact of UK government austerity.
Since its launch in April 2013, the Fund has paid out more than £200 million to support over 336,000 households across Scotland, with a third of recipients being families with children.
SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“The Scottish Welfare Fund is a vital lifeline for many people facing poverty or personal crisis.
“The fact that so many households in Midlothian and East Lothian are in need of emergency financial help is appalling, and a sad indictment of the UK Government’s record on austerity and welfare changes.
“The SNP would prefer these resources were invested directly to tackle poverty rather than protecting people from Tory austerity.
“Indeed, the UN Special Rapporteur on Poverty described it as outrageous that the Scottish Government had to divert funds to protect people from Westminster’s mess.
“The SNP will continue to do everything in our power to tackle poverty and support low income families. It’s time for the Tories to end their austerity agenda and stop forcing families into poverty.”
105.6% MORE ADULTS REGISTERED WITH NHS DENTIST IN LOTHIAN
SNP MSP Colin Beattie has hailed the latest NHS figures that show NHS dentist registrations have rocketed under the SNP – with 105.6% more adults registered in Lothian since 2007.
The number of children in the Lothian registered with an NHS dentist has also risen dramatically with 90.5% now registered - a 36.1% rise since 2007.
Previous Labour and Lib Dem administrations at Holyrood over saw a decline of 1.4% in adults registered with a dentist in Lothian – while the figure for children was a decline of 1.6%.
Across Scotland there are now 107% more adults and 43% more children registered with an NHS dentist than before the SNP came into power.
Commenting, SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie, said:
“This SNP Scottish Government has taken huge strides in improving the oral health of people in Lothian and across Scotland.
“Since the SNP came to power, efforts to increase the number of people receiving regular dental check-ups is paying off, with the number of adults registered more than doubling across Scotland.
“Here in Lothian, we’ve seen 105.6% more adults and 36.1% more children registered with an NHS dentist since 2007.
“Of course there’s always room for improvement, and I hope to see more people in Lothian ensuring they are able to access a local NHS dentist.”
SNP – TORY GOVERNMENT MUST SCRAP “HEARTLESS” POLICY
16.1% of the total number of children in Midlothian and 11.7% of children in East Lothian could be affected by the two-child cap, according to new research – prompting more calls for the UK Government to scrap the “heartless” policy.
The “two-child policy” allows low-income families to claim child tax credits or universal credit for their first two children only.
New research from the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has revealed that 160,000 families have had their income slashed by the two-child limit to-date.
The charity estimates that more than 3 million children could eventually be affected by the benefit cap.
SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“Social security should be a safety net for all of us, but the two-child limit is having a devastating effect on families up and down the country, with 2975 children in Midlothian and 2385 in East Lothian are set to be affected by it.
“All families are valuable and worthy of support, but this heartless policy turns people away when they most need support, and leaves children to grow up in hardship – which can have lifelong consequences for their health and wellbeing.
“The SNP government has been left to pick up the pieces, investing over £125 million to mitigate callous Tory welfare policies.
“In addition, it is introducing a Scottish Child Payment to tackle child poverty. Without the two-child cap, this payment could go so much further.
“The next Tory Prime Minister should make it a priority to tackle poverty and enable children to thrive, starting with reversing the two-child limit and horrendous ‘rape clause.’”