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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S5W-33627
Asked by: Clare Adamson, Motherwell and Wishaw, Scottish National Party
Date lodged: 30 November 2020

Question

To ask the Scottish Government what more it will do to support people through the COVID-19 pandemic this winter.

Current status: Answered by Aileen Campbell on 30 November 2020


Answer

Protecting and supporting people during these unparalleled times is the absolute focus of this government. We know that the winter period will be challenging for many, with continued COVID restrictions, colder weather and the threat of a no-deal exit from the EU.

We are committed to doing everything we can to support people throughout the winter and that is why we are investing an additional £100 million in a Winter Plan for Social Protection to help people and communities. The Plan includes:

  • £22 million to support families on low incomes. This includes a £100 per child payment for those in receipt of Free School Meals in December, delivered through local authorities. Alongside £5 million of funding available to children’s charities and £1 million to enable suitable clothing to be provided for children accessing Early Learning and Childcare who need it.
  • £23.5 million to support services for vulnerable children and young people to address areas where the children and families social work resource is experiencing significant challenge in meeting demand.
  • £15 million to enhance capacity within the third sector and communities and enable us to support more community and third sector organisations.
  • £15 million of flexible funding for local authorities moving into level 4 to support the needs of people in their communities who do not have support networks and are struggling with the new restrictions or guidance. This may be access to food or medicine or other emerging needs that result from an area entering level 4.
  • £7 million to further help with fuel costs to be delivered through existing partnerships to enhance the support available.
  • £2 million further investment in strategic national food activity to strengthen existing supports and ensure that individuals facing food insecurity can access the food they need.
  • £5.14 million further investment to support people affected by homelessness.
  • £5.91 million additional investment to promote equality and tackle social isolation and loneliness. This includes support for national helplines and £4.2 million additional funding for our Connecting Scotland Programme, specifically targeted to getting older people online to tackling loneliness.
  • £0.25 million on a post-Christmas marketing campaign on benefit uptake and income maximisation.
  • £4.2 million Reserve Fund to meet potential pressures. This will be deployed as needed to strengthen elements of the Winter Plan, should they prove insufficient, or to meet new emergent need.