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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 October 2007, 12:28 GMT 13:28 UK
Voucher aid scheme for claimants
Citizens Advice Bureau
The scheme aims to provide vital stopgap support
A food voucher scheme for low income families has been launched amid concern about the speed of benefit payouts.

The initiative by the Citizens' Advice Bureau in Stirling provides vouchers to those who have to wait up to eight weeks for benefits.

CAB officials have been in talks with a branch of Poundstretcher which may accept vouchers for food and other goods.

Scotland's national football coach, Alex McLeish, has backed the scheme.

He handed over a cheque for 1,500 from Unity Trust Bank to the bureau to help fund the initiative.

In order to receive benefit from the government, claimants can wait for up to eight weeks for their applications to be processed.

In the intervening weeks they can claim crisis loans but the CAB said this too can be a lengthy and complex process.

Household items

Craig Anderson, manager of the Stirling CAB, said the voucher system has been designed to address the needs of those who run out of money completely.

He said: "We're in negotiations with a local retailer Poundstretchers whereby the vouchers can be redeemed for food and any other household items, like pots and pans etc. for which, they will invoice us monthly.

"The scheme is open to everyone but obviously we have to go through certain protocols.

"A decision in relation to a crisis loan would have to be obtained and assistance would have to be refused from section 12 or 22 of the social work department.

"That means a lot of people who currently fall through the net would benefit."

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