LAs Cutting Emergency Funding Across The Board

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
The financial meltdown affecting LAs continues unabated : ... s-meltdown
English councils’ local welfare schemes in ‘meltdown.

New report reveals that two-thirds of English councils have closed or cut emergency funds, causing greater hardship to low-income families

The system of local authority-run welfare safety net schemes set up to provide support for vulnerable low-income families hit by unexpected financial crises and domestic emergencies is on the brink of collapse, according to new research published today.

Local welfare assistance is supposed to help the poorest residents to weather the short-term costs of setbacks such as fires, floods, injury, illness and benefit delay, as well as the breakdown of vital household equipment such as cookers and fridges. The idea is to nip problems in the bud before they spiral into intractable and costly problems such as destitution, problem debt, child safeguarding and homelessness.

But nearly two-thirds of English councils have either closed the “welfare assistance schemes” they introduced just four years ago, or offer only a threadbare service, according to a study by the Centre for Responsible Credit (CfRC). It says the cuts have left thousands of people in many areas without vital hardship support, often forcing them to go without, turn to charity handouts, or take out high cost loans to pay for basics such as food, energy, furniture and rent.

The government continues its assault on local government funding, whilst trying to avoid responsibility for the consequences. Our research reveals a depressingly bleak picture as a result: more pain and misery for those individuals who fall on hard times, and greater demand on housing, health and social care services,” says the report’s author, Damon Gibbons, director of the Centre for Responsible Credit (CfRC).

Quite a lengthy article but well worth reading as the fallout is vast.

Not unexpected given the warnings in previous threads in the News Section.

Good news for pawnbrokers and loan sharks ?
An article by one of our regular contributors , Frances Ryan , in today's Guardian : ... ocial-fund
Remove society’s safety net and what do we get? Disabled toddlers in dirty clothes.

The coalition government abolished the social fund in 2013. People such as Kirsty and her family now have to fend for themselves in a crisis

Just a snippett as to the gist of the article which is complete with one case study :

This is what the death of Britain’s safety net looks like – disabled toddlers in dirty clothes and mothers forced to go to charity. Only four years ago, Kirsty could have turned to what was known as the “social fund”, a central government-run system of low-cost loans and grants for families in financial emergencies. But then austerity came in and in 2013, the coalition government scrapped all community care grants and crisis loans, replacing them with a patchwork of devolved programmes that cash-strapped local authorities had no obligation to fund. The Conservatives claim that councils are “best-placed to decide how to support local welfare needs” but it just so happens that when central government transferred responsibility to local authorities, the deal came with a £120m annual funding cut.

It doesn’t take an economics degree to guess what happened next. Four years on, nearly two-thirds of English councils have either closed the “welfare assistance schemes” or offer only a threadbare service, according to a new study by the Centre for Responsible Credit (CfRC). Many have done away with cash altogether, instead handing out food bank vouchers or redirecting families to local poverty charities.

The result is at least one in seven households in England no longer have access to a council-run crisis support scheme. Pause on that: that means one in seven families are in financial crisis but cannot turn to the state for help. Like so much Conservative social policy, this is not only callous but also riddled with economic short-termism. Give a 20-year-old homeless man £300 for furniture for a new flat and he has a chance to build a life, get a job and pay tax; help a cancer patient with £50 for food and gas until her new disability benefits come in and the strained NHS won’t need to pick up the pieces.

On relfection , one of her better pieces , difficult for anyone to argue to the contrary.

Suffice to say , this one will smoulder on as the grip of Austerity tightens.