Social Care Bonus Payment

Further to the announcements made yesterday please see attached the letter sent by Jean Freeman to all local authorities and COSLA.  We know that this will raise a lot of questions and are seeking urgent clarification on who this applies to, how it is to be funded, how the money flows etc and will come back to you as soon as we have further details.  

Extension of the Self-Isolation Support Grant

The £500 Self-Isolation Support Grant is being extended to include parents on low incomes whose children are asked to self-isolate, Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville announced today.  The grant will also become available to those who may be eligible for Universal Credit, but have not yet applied.  

Both changes will be introduced from 7 December.

More info here: https://www.gov.scot/news/more-people-can-claim-self-isolation-support-grant/

Universal Credit Claimant stats

We thought you might be interested in the most recent official statistics on people claiming, receiving, and starting on Universal Credit in Scotland, taken directly from the Department of Work and Pension’s (DWP) collection of Universal Credit Statistics.  It also summarises recent statistics on unemployment benefit claims and

households affected by the Benefit cap.

The percentage increases are shocking and sobering and lay bare the increased pressures local authorities will face in supporting those most in need.  Edinburgh has seen an eye-watering 184% increase in claimant count numbers since the start of the pandemic.

https://www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/statistics/2020/11/universal-credit-scotland-dashboard-november-2020/documents/universal-credit-scotland-dashboard-november-2020/universal-credit-scotland-dashboard-november-2020/govscot%3Adocument/Universal%2BCredit%2BScotland%2BBulletin%2B-%2BNovember%2B2020.pdf?forceDownload=true

LG Pay 2021  

We had another discussion with the other SJC TUs on the construct of the 2021 pay claim today and have made good progress towards a joint position.  Another meeting is due to be held next week and we will update you on progress of those discussions as soon as we can.  

How we are responding to the Corona virus

We are already receiving applications from members who are in financial difficulties as a result of the Coronavirus. In some cases, this has sadly meant providing support to those who have lost loved ones – including help with funeral costs.  

CoVid19 Response Fund

For many of our members, work and household income has suddenly changed overnight.  Whether as a result of ill-health, loss of income or increased work-related costs, many will be feeling anxious about how they will make ends meet, pay household bills and put food on the table.  

We want members to know that we are here to help in whatever way we can and is why we’ve established a special CoVid19 Response Fund.  This new hardship fund will help ease the immediate financial pressures faced by members including those who have become more vulnerable by providing an immediate grant of £250 to help with essentials.  

Eligibility

To be eligible for a COVID-19 grant the following must apply either to the member and/or their partner:

  • Suffered a reduction in earnings as a direct result of the coronavirus crisis which has put them in financial difficulty (this could be linked to work or health related reasons) and/or
  • Member and/or partner is a key worker with increased work-related costs as a result of the crisis, e.g. transport, care, or laundry costs.
Also
  • Be a UNISON member with at least 4 weeks membership and have paid their subscriptions;
  • Have savings of less than £800
  • Be applying for or in receipt of any statutory help that they may be entitled to.  

How members apply

Members in financial difficulty can apply direct by completing a simple online application form and attaching some supporting documents which will help us reach a quick decision.  

For all the details and, the application form itself go to: CoVid19ResponseFund

How you can help

Through your communication channels, please share information about this important initiative as widely as possible as this will ensure members who are struggling receive the help they need.  

Other important information

By way of a reminder, please also note that we have introduced a streamlined version of our main financial assistance application form which members can now complete electronically.  We are actively encouraging members to use the electronic form where possible as this will result in us receiving the application sooner.  Members can apply without going through the branch – something that may be helpful if you are a key worker or other reasons make it difficult to have contact with members.  

For further information go to: https://www.unison.org.uk/get-help/services-support/there-for-you/financial-assistance/ and then scroll down to the section on ‘Financial Assistance’

Thank you to everyone. We really do appreciate all that you’re doing during these difficult times.  

Stay healthy, stay safe, stay tuned for more information.