Food Vouchers Instead of Cash for Support
- 27 Mar
Emergency support for people in a short term financial crisis will come as food vouchers instead of money.
Local authorities will be running the scheme from next month, and each has it's own eligibility rules, however critics say it will miss out other essential items and encourage theft.
Tens of thousands of vulnerable people who would normally receive a cash loan when in financial crisis, will now be issued with food vouchers instead.
It is available as an emergency government run social fund for people who are already on a tight budget, but have money stolen, or their benefits are delayed, and the loan is repaid in deductions from future benefits.
It also includes grants that are available for disabled people, ex-prisoners and victims of domestic violence, to enable them to buy or replace items that would help them live independently, such as beds or clothing.
It was decided last year that the current system of giving cash loans would be changed to a system of controlled funding so that it is spent in the intended place.
These can come in the form of payment cards, and will be restricted to essential goods such as food and nappies, and will be blocked or monitored to prevent use on alcohol, cigarettes or gambling.
Each local authority will have different eligibility criteria and different conditions, for example one local authority will only issue the support with the condition of good behaviour, as many are having to restric eligibility.
However, critics have said that the payment card system has already failed when used with asylum seekers as it means they are unable to buy other essential items that are not food, and this is likely to encourage them to find other methods of obtaining the money.
The government has reduced the amount it allows for the social fund, from £230m in 2009-10 with only £178m allocated for 2013-14. Councils say these reductions have left them with no other option than to offer vouchers, refer applicants to food banks and secondhand furniture projects, and to restrict eligibility.
Alison Garnham, chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group, said:
Local authorities have been given a difficult task, to deliver support on a reduced budget at a time of rising need.
But we are seriously concerned that some authorities will not be providing any access to cash to families to meet their essential needs, and may be offering support in a way that serves to stigmatise those who need it.
Critics have also said that, as some authorities drafting in food parcel arrangements, voluntarily donated food is given to existing Government welfare arrangements, blurring the line between public giving and taxpayer-funded Government support.
Image source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/919886
- 28 Aug
Figures find thousands of benefit claimants died after found fit for work
Over 80 people a month have died shortly after being declared “fit to work” prompting campaigners to call for an overhaul of the government’s welfare system, reports the Guardian.Figures from...
- 24 Aug
Disability campaigners concerned over benefit shakeups
The Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is set to announce new reforms to sickness benefits in the hope to get more people into work, reports the Guardian.It is expected the Mr Duncan Smith...
- 07 Aug
Single parents are being hit by benefit cuts
Government statistics detailing who has been affected by the policy have found that in May 2015 49% were single parents with children under the age of five, reports the Guardian.It is being said that...
- 30 Jul
Government to review helping benefit claimants back into work
Led by Professor Dame Carol Black, the inquiry will consider the case for linking people who are entitled to benefits with accepting appropriate treatment or support, reports 24dash.The review's...
- 23 Jul
Call for review of benefits delivery
The inquiry will look at the problems that could occur when benefits are underpaid or delayed, reports 24dash. The Committee invites written evidence on: Frank Field MP, chair of the committee,...
- 15 May
11,400 tenants could be affected by new benefits cut
Inside Housing have analysed data from the government's Stat-Xplore website and has found that 11,449 social housing tenants are set to be affected by the governments plans to remove housing benefit...
- 24 Mar
Deaths due to benefit sanctions should have independent investigations
A report into benefit sanctions by the Work and Pensions Committee has said that suicides linked to sanctions should be scrutinised in a similar manner to deaths in police custody, reports Inside...
- 11 Mar
Charity finds benefit sanctions regime to be flawed
A report conducted for Crisis by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University found that benefit claimants were subject to a ‘postcode lottery' on whether or...
- 30 Oct
Cuts to employment and support allowance benefits
With these cuts it could see new claimants being given just 50p more per week than people who are on job seekers allowance, reports the BBC. The Department for Work and Pensions have said the ESA...
- 10 Oct
Proposed benefit rule labelled ‘worse than poor law'
The Social Security Advisory Committee is currently cons ulting on the proposals which George Osborne first announced in June 2013, reports Inside Housing.The seven day wait would occur on top of the...
Responding to the DWP Consultation: Housing Benefit Reform - Supported Housing "I thought this briefing was very good and very useful. The presentation was clear, well argued and I always find Michael gives me food for thought even if I don't agree with everything he says. I really like the way he facilitates a discussion in the room and I learn as much from other participants as I do from the presenter which is always good. Right length, right tone." R.P. - Richmond Fellowship