Removal of local welfare funding reconsidered by the government
Following the threat of a High Court challenge ministers have agreed to reconsider the removal of a fund aimed at supporting people who are in need.
Islington Council and charity Child Poverty Action Group were involved in judicial review proceedings against the decision to remove the £172m local welfare provision grant which is mostly used to support people who have short-term financial difficulties, such as benefit delays, reports Inside Housing.
The crisis loans schemes and community care grants were previously administered directly by the DWP however they became localised to councils in April 2013.
The latest local government finance settlement stated that the fund would not be administered to local authorities in 2015/16; however ministers have now agreed to reconsider the funding cut so that they can avoid judicial review.
The DWP, the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Treasury agreed to complete an ongoing review of local welfare provision and conduct an ‘appropriate’ consultation.
Alison Garnham, CPAG chief executive, said: “Those who use these schemes are amongst the most vulnerable in society and the support they receive plays a key role in crisis prevention. Their needs must be the principal driver of government decision making. Our social security system has long recognised that those on low incomes cannot manage one-off, unexpected costs. This funding enables families to flee domestic violence and avoid homelessness, young people to set up home after leaving institutions, and disabled people to buy items to help with independent living.”
A DWP spokesperson said: “We must be very clear that this was never about abolishing support. This government is giving councils more control because they understand best their local area’s needs.”
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