New Scottish Government statistics showing the impact of a fund aimed at helping the poor have been welcomed by a Renfrewshire MP.

The Scottish Welfare Fund provides one-off grants to households experiencing extreme poverty, giving support in the event of an unexpected emergency or to help live a settled life in the community.

And over the last two years, the scheme received 13,553 successful applications in Renfrewshire, totalling nearly £3.4 million in grants to needy households.

That support was hailed by the SNP’s Gavin Newlands as “a tribute” to the work of the Scottish Government and Renfrewshire Council.

In 2021 nearly £1.8 million was paid out by the Fund via Renfrewshire Council, while 2022 saw nearly £1.6 million to go applicants who were in desperate need.

Across Scotland £110 million has gone to successful applicants over the past 2 years, a total of £230 million paid out over the past half decade.

The Fund was set up by the Scottish Government in 2013 following the UK Government’s abolition of the DWP’s Social Fund, and is made up of the Community Care Grant and the Crisis Grant, aimed at providing support to the very poorest in society.

The Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP said: “The support provided by the Scottish Welfare Fund is a tribute to the funding allocated by the Scottish Government and the hard work of the staff of Renfrewshire Council, who administer the scheme locally.

“Thousands of households in our community have benefited at the very times when they need help most, and I am proud it is there to give that help.

“But fundamentally it is shameful that a wealthy country like the UK allows its own citizens to languish in such poverty, while expecting our local council and the Scottish Government to fill the gap.

“Social security benefits in the UK are amongst the lowest in Europe, and have fallen even lower since the Tories’ callous cuts to Universal Credit of over £1000 a year.

“The First Minister’s anti-poverty summit this week shows the will is there across parties in Scotland to make real progress in tackling poverty and making the wealth of our society work for all in society.

“It’s time the full fiscal powers over our economy and our social security system were transferred to Holyrood to allow a Government and Parliament serious about changing our society for the better, rather than left in the hands of the extremists at the top of the Tory party.”

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