THE number of applications for emergency funding in West Dunbartonshire has dropped in the past year, bucking the trend in the rest of Scotland.

The Scottish Welfare Fund offers two different types of payout for those who are struggling.

The Community Care Grant is designed to help people be able to remain living independently in the community, while the Crisis Grant is funding which can be given to someone who is suffering from an unexpected event.

Crisis Grants can be handed out for a variety of reasons, from a broken kitchen appliance to a delay in benefits.

In West Dunbartonshire (WD), the number of applications for either grant dropped from 8,070 in 2016/17 to 7,945 in 2017/18 - the latest figures available.

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The two per cent decrease is in stark contrast to the rest of Scotland, which as a whole, saw a jump of ten per cent.

Since the 2013/14 financial year, the number of applications in WD has dropped by around 14 per cent, from a high of 9,260.

Whereas, the number of applications during the same period in Scotland has shot up by more than 50 per cent, from 172,535 to 263,655.

Of this year’s recorded applications, the main reasons for applying were to help the person stay in the community, and to help families facing “exceptional pressure”.

During the same period, 1,635 applications were made for the Crisis Grants, the vast majority of which were in the aftermath of an emergency.

Cash is presented to local authorities from the Scottish Government, which they then dole out to applicants they deem to be in need.

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Shirley-Anne Somerville, the Scottish Government’s social security secretary, said: “We would much rather these resources were invested in anti-poverty measures than protecting our people from another government’s cuts - a position the UN Special Rapporteur on Poverty recently described as outrageous and unsustainable.

“The fact that so many households in Scotland are in need of emergency financial help is appalling, and a sad indictment of the UK Government’s record on austerity and welfare changes.

“As their welfare cuts continue to cause harm and damage, we continue to do our best to mitigate against them and provide financial support to low income families and carers.”