Local Welfare Provision is under threat

The government wants to cut local welfare provision (LWP) – one off grants that support those living in poverty to cover unexpected expenses like fixing a broken cooker or topping up gas and electricity.

It’s a small amount of money that helps lift people out of homelessness, prevents others becoming homeless and stops much bigger costs later on.

The government is scrapping the £178 million LWA budget and has told local councils to fund it themselves. But with budgets already under pressure, councils of all parties have said there’s no guarantee they’ll be able to fund LWA in 2015-16.

We have one last chance to save this lifeline – please respond to the government consultation (2.2 Local Welfare Provision funding in Local Government Finance Settlement 2015-16 Consultation)  and tell the Chancellor of the Exchequer not to scrap LWP funding.

We don’t have long – the consultation closes on Thursday 15 January, so please take action now.

This is the template letter being used by Crisis

Dear Sir,

I am writing in response to the Local Government Finance Settlement 2015-16 consultation, as I am particularly concerned at the Government’s local welfare provision funding proposal (Question 1). I am copying in the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Local welfare assistance is a vital lifeline for some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in society – it helps homeless people move into new accommodation, young people leaving care and women and families fleeing domestic violence. It helps to buy essential furniture, top up gas and electricity or to buy food in an emergency.

Cutting this funding would be disastrous: the LGA found that three quarters of councils would no longer be able to deliver local welfare assistance programmes if it’s scrapped. This would leave many people with nowhere else to turn.

I am pleased that the government has recognised how important this funding is in the local government finance settlement. However, the plans laid out are not enough. As Crisis, the national charity for single homeless people have argued, the current funding should be maintained and paid to councils in a separate grant, to ensure that councils can afford to keep such a vital service going.

I want to save Local Welfare Provision

Vital funding for vulnerable families is being cut

Local welfare provision (which replaced the social fund) is a lifeline to vulnerable people up and down the country. It allows struggling families to buy a new bed for a growing child, fix a broken cooker, or set up home after fleeing domestic violence.

There is  one last chance to persuade the Government not to cut this funding. They are consulting on the decision until 15th Jan – make sure your voice is heard.

Take action to save local welfare provision – Child Poverty Action Group have made it easy to take that action.

A cut too far – act now to save local welfare provision

Local welfare provision is a lifeline to vulnerable people up and down the country. The government is threatening to cut this lifeline.
Tell them that this is a cut too far.

We all know how difficult it can be to manage an unexpected expense, like replacing a broken cooker. Living on a low income means it is barely possible to manage everyday costs, let alone one-off or unexpected expenses.

Local welfare provision, which replaced parts of the social fund, helps families buy new beds for growing children or set up home after fleeing domestic violence.

This is urgent: the government is consulting until 15th January on its decision to stop funding these schemes.

Tell the government that this is a cut too far.

Using the CPAG template letter, I have personalised it and  have sent the following to the consultation team at the Department for Communities and Local Government, and copy it to the Treasury.

  1. The Treasury
  2. Department for Communities and Local Governme

Subject: Local Government Finance Settlement 2015/16

Dear

I am writing to raise concerns about the inadequacy of current funding proposals for local welfare provision (LWP) proposed in the Local Government Finance Settlement 2015-16.

In Devon, to implement a LWP scheme starting in 2013, the local authorities came together under the umbrella of the Devon Local Governement Steering Group who specified that the scheme that is intended to help achieve 3 specfic outcomes:
– increase reliance and resilience
– quick and effective support for those with high priority short term needs
– help for people to establish themselves in, or remain in, the community.

In term, I am to say Exeter made sure that debt advice and money management is an integral part of the scheme and applicants who apply for assistance where debt or poor money management skills have been identified as either the cause or a contributing factor to theircircumstances will be required to engage in money advice support.

The demands on LWP scheme from vulnerable people in terrible crisis will not disappear when the money isn’t there.

The cut to central government funding for LWP lets down the vulnerable people who rely on these schemes and risks far larger costs to the state.

Since its formation, the UK social security system has recognised that those on low incomes cannot manage one-off, unexpected costs.

In recent years, local welfare provision has played this role, enabling families to flee domestic violence or homelessness, young people to set up home after leaving institutions, and disabled people to buy items to help with independent living.

It is hard to imagine what families and individuals will do without these schemes. They are likely to turn to high cost credit, suffer acute stress, and experience ever more entrenched crises including increased risk of homelessness.

As well as the misery this causes individuals and their children, in the long run it is likely to prove a false economy and generate additional costs for the state. These could come, for example, through increased risk of reoffending, children being taken into care, house fires caused by faulty appliances, homelessness or hospital admission.

It is not too late to show your support for families in need. Please reinstate the central government grant of £178 million for these schemes.

Link to Exeter Local Welfare Support Guideline Statement devised by Exeter City Council