Strengthening the safety net

Published 30 June 2023

 Action plan to ensure Scottish Welfare Fund reaches those in most need.

Improvements to the way crisis support is delivered in Scotland are set out in a plan published today.

The Scottish Welfare Fund provides a vital safety net which has paid out more than £380 million in emergency funds to more than half a million households over the last ten years.

The plan sets out 22 commitments to help the Fund better address unmet need and make decisions more consistent across the country. Actions include a simplified application form, clearer guidance and better promotion to those who may not currently be being reached, including older people.

Improved guidance on referrals to wider services such as debt and welfare advice will also aim to help people with their finances so they can avoid future crisis.  

Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“Ten years on from the introduction of the Scottish Welfare Fund, it is time to make improvements to ensure it continues to provide lifeline support. These actions will help to ensure that no matter where people live, they can access support they are eligible for in their time of need.

“The current financial pressures facing many households and the hardship that brings has shone a spotlight on the need for such emergency funds, and as the independent review of the fund made clear in March, the inadequacy of UK Government welfare has contributed to increased demand.

“The publication of this plan demonstrates the Scottish Government’s dedication to strengthening our social security system and working to best meet the requirements of people in Scotland.”


The Scottish Welfare Fund Action Plan published in June 2023

The plan is a response to an independent review commissioned by Ministers 

Scottish Welfare Fund review: final report

The plan aims to ensure the fund embeds the same principles of fairness, dignity and respect which underpin the Scottish benefits system.

Strengthening the safety net – (

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