A new fund has been set up to help support Perthshire households struggling with their finances.
Created by Perth and Kinross Council, the Financial Insecurity Fund aims to help locals most in need this winter.
It comes as the Scottish Government distributed £20 million to Scottish local authorities for this purpose.
Households that currently receive Council Tax reduction and that have children under the age of six as of December 11 will receive a one-off payment of £80 for each eligible child.
Households are also eligible for the funding if they have:
- No recourse to public funds,
- Priority debts including fuel debt,
- Broadband debt that prevents you getting online or you require a data package,
- Difficulty meeting the essential costs of children under two-years-old or a child with disabilities of any age, such as nappies, milk or wipes, or
- Additional costs of living rurally.
Perth and Kinross Council leader, Councillor Murray Lyle said: “We understand many households are struggling financially this Christmas.
“We have created this fund, using our share of Scottish Government funding, to help those most in need at this time.”
He added: “We know that what is a time of joy for many of us can bring additional stress and worry for those less fortunate.
“We hope the money goes some way to ensuring those families in financial hardship have some extra financial assistance over the festive season.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat councillor, Peter Barrett – who also serves as the council’s Equalities Champion – spoke of his first-hand knowledge of the difficulties many people face.
“As someone who is directly involved in supporting several community food initiatives I know this money will provide a lifeline to many our most vulnerable families over winter”, he said.
“But anyone who is struggling this winter should contact our Welfare Rights Team to see what additional help is available to them.”
Payments will be made to successful applicants from December 21, and the council aims to make decisions on applications within five working days.
A local authority spokesperson said: “Perth & Kinross Council is urging all residents who may be struggling to pay bills, heat their homes or feeling overwhelmed by 2020 not to suffer in silence.”
Applications for the Financial Insecurity Fund can be made on the Perth and Kinross Council website or by calling 0345 30 111 00.