By Lucy Ashton
Women’s Aid groups are being badly let down by the SNP government.
Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur has today raised questions about the Scottish Government’s Victim Surcharge Fund awarding less than £420,000 to organisations, despite previously promising up to £1.2 million a year for victims of crime.
A Scottish Government press release today claims that “A total of £413,727 has been awarded to organisations, including Victim Support Scotland, trauma and loss centre the Manda Centre and Scottish women’s aid groups, since the Scottish Government launched the Victim Surcharge Fund in 2019”.
Victim surcharge fund has paid out a fraction of what was promised However in 2013, the Scottish Government estimated such a scheme could raise in excess of £1.2 million a year, while in 2014 a now-deleted Scottish Government press release claimed the figure was more than £1m a year.
Mr McArthur said: “It took six years from Parliament approving legislation to support victims before any payments from the fund were made so we shouldn’t be surprised that the Scottish Government have once again over-promised and under-delivered.
“Perhaps this will give pause for thought for those nationalists who claimed they could set up a newly independent Scotland in 18 months.
“Victim Support Scotland and others are doing excellent work with the funds that have been distributed but victims of crime have missed out on millions of pounds of criminals’ cash as a result of the SNP’s dithering.”
Liam McArthur MSP, LibDem spokesperson on justice.
Meanwhile, Mr McArthur has written to the Finance Secretary John Swinney calling on him to reverse his government’s decision to withdraw funding to the Scottish Men’s Sheds Association for 2023/24.
More than 200 Men’s Sheds are in operation across the country, providing nearly 3,000 with company, mental health support and the chance to develop new hobbies.
The Scottish Government has provided £570,000 towards the initiative since it was launched in 2014, and agreed £75,000 funding in 2022/23.
However, the Scottish Men’s Shed Association (SMSA) have now been told that there will be no cash for 2023/24 with the charity now concerned they may have to fold at the end of the financial year.