The Scottish Government has announced an additional £350million for those most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Communities Secretary, Aileen Campbell, said the funding will be made available to councils, charities, businesses and community groups and is designed to cut down on red tape to enable them to respond swiftly to situations.
Ms Campbell added that allowing a high level of flexibility was the best way to ensure they were most effective.
She said: “This pandemic will disrupt lives like never before and cause financial hardship and negatively impact on our wellbeing.
“Be assured, however, that protecting and supporting people during these unparalleled times is the absolute focus of this government.
“Our funding package will be focused on delivery, not bureaucracy or red tape. Local authorities, local businesses, community groups and the third sector know and understand the support needs of their communities the best.
“Where people and organisations have solutions or ideas, I want to hear them.”
“Unless we work with local partners, the impact of our investment will not be felt by those that need it most.
“So my message is – if we can help you to help the people of Scotland then we will.”
The emergency funding package will be allocated to existing funding streams through several new funds, with the £95million package direct to local authorities.
This is made up of £50million in Barnett consequentials from the UK Government’s hardship fund is being passed direct to local authorities and £45million from the existing Scottish Welfare Fund which makes community grants and crisis grants available to those in immediate need.
This more than doubles the current £35.5million fund, which is administered by local authorities. They will be given more flexibility in how it is used to ensure they can fully support people in financial crisis, including workers in the ‘gig economy’.
In addition, a £70million Food Fund will assist organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors address issues of food insecurity, especially for older people.
A £50million Wellbeing Fund will help charities and others who require additional capacity to work with at-risk people and a £40million Supporting Communities Fund will boost community efforts at a local level, including supporting people at risk because of age, isolation, carers, homeless people and asylum seekers.
A further £50million will go to meet an anticipated increase in applications for the existing Council Tax Reduction Scheme and Scottish social security benefits, while
£20 million will be allocated to a Third Sector Resilience Fund.
Finally, £25million will be kept in reserve to allow swift and flexible responses to rapidly changing circumstances