NICOLA Sturgeon has backed a multi-million-pound fund to help support more than 20,000 tenants during the cost of living crisis.

The First Minister attended the launch of the £6 million “Here for You” fund by the Wheatley Group, a housing, care and property management organisation in her Glasgow southside constituency. 

The funds aim to support tenants from Wheatley Group-registered social landlords from across central and southern Scotland. 

This comes as energy bills are expected to reach around £5000 by January 2023, while inflation could soar as high as 13% this year. 

READ MORE: Cost-of-living crisis to wipe out savings of millions of Scots

Sturgeon said: “Households are facing a cost of living crisis unlike anything most of us have seen in our lifetimes, with the most vulnerable being hit the hardest. 

“So it is vital that all those with the power and means to provide support do so.

“That’s why I’m pleased to see the launch of Wheatley’s £6m cost of living crisis fund which I know will provide essential support for those who need it most.”

The housing firm also helped tenants claim £19.6m in welfare benefits during the pandemic, all while delivering food parcels and vouchers. 

Chair of the Wheatley Group Jo Armstrong said: “We know these are extremely tough times – and the winter will only become tougher for tenants. 

“That is why Wheatley, more than ever, is doing all we can to protect the people we work for across Scotland from the worst impacts of the cost of living crisis.”

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Armstrong also said the support will help more than 20,000 people living in the most affected communities. 

She added: “Here for You will expand and strengthen further programmes Wheatley have put in place throughout the pandemic. 

“Programmes that we know – through hard experience – provide essential, vital support to people in need.”