Moray Council Convener, Cllr Shona Morrison, has responded to the increase in applications for Universal Credit and crisis grants as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak.
Moray claims for Universal Credit have soared from an average of 40 applications per week to over 500 in the last fortnight, and Moray Council’s welfare team have received over 590 applications for the Scottish Welfare fund in February and March.
Commenting Cllr Shona Morrison said:
“The last few weeks have been extremely challenging for all households in Moray, as we feel the very real effect of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“No aspect of daily living is the same as it was when we entered 2020.
“Many in our communities now find themselves in real financial difficulty and having to rely on the benefit system to survive this crisis.
“With applications for Universal Credit taking up to five weeks to process, many households are having to seek emergency financial support from the Scottish Welfare Fund – money allocated to each local authority from the Scottish Government to help those finding themselves in extreme financial hardship.
“At the onset of this crisis, the Scottish Government provided Councils with an additional £45 million to assist those in need.
“£22 million of this fund is currently with Local Authorities with the remaining £23 million being distributed at a later point.
“Moray Council have now received £261,000 and the Income Maximisation team at the Council have been inundated with applications.
“Moray Council Income Maximisation team are doing an incredible job against a backdrop of unprecedented challenge and massively increased workload.
“They are dealing with people at their most vulnerable and in incredibly distressing circumstances.
“The team as always, are compassionate, professional and act as a lifeline to so many.
“They are very much one of the unsung heroes, along with so many other council employees.”