THE WELSH Government has revealed that over 33,000 people in Wales sought financial help over the Christmas period in 2022.

A total of 33,351 people experiencing financial hardship accessed £2.36 million cash payments from the Welsh Government’s Discretionary Assistance Fund in December alone.

It comes as the Minister for Social Justice, Jane Hutt MS, urged people in Wales to check their eligibility for help from Welsh Government support schemes if they were facing financial difficulties.

Welsh Government figures show 200,000 people in Wales have been supported by the Discretionary Assistance Fund in the 2022-2023 financial year, with £23 million given out in grants.

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The Discretionary Assistance Fund provides two types of grant that do not need to be paid back and is designed to help people in extreme financial hardship, people who may have lost their jobs, are waiting for their first universal credit payment or to help people live independently in a home they are moving into. 

In the Welsh Government’s draft budget for 2023-24, it announced an additional £18.8 million in funding for the Discretionary Assistance Fund to help during the cost of living crisis.

Jane Hutt MS said the Fund was just one of a raft of initiatives aimed at supporting people in Wales during the cost of living crisis.

Minister for Social Justice, Jane Hutt MS said: "This cost-of-living crisis, fuelled by soaring energy, fuel and food costs is unprecedented.

"The Discretionary Assistance Fund is one of a number of ways we are supporting people all across Wales through programmes and schemes that put money back in their pockets.

"These figures show it has been a crucial source of emergency help for many, and make it clear why we will not be making cuts to the budget.

"We will continue to offer help to those in need and I would once again urge those struggling to check whether they can access payments or benefits which could provide some comfort during these challenging times."

Luke Young, assistant director of Citizens Advice Cymru said:" Citizens Advice Cymru is here to help you find a way forward. We can check you are receiving all the benefits and payments you're entitled to.

"Many people are worried about rising energy costs and debt. Our advisors can point you to local and national schemes that could make a big difference this winter.

"If you're experiencing financial hardship such as losing your job or waiting for your first benefit payment or have no money to buy food, gas and electricity, the Discretionary Assistance Fund may be able to help you right now."

The Welsh Government is encouraging people who are concerned about their ability to pay for bills or want to check what financial support they are eligible for to contact Advicelink Cymru free by phone on 0808 250 5700.

Those who can’t hear or speak on the phone can type what they want to say by calling 18001 then 08082 505 720 via Relay UK.