Thomas Bridge 06 October 2014

LGA: Cut to council crisis funding would affect ‘thousands’

LGA: Cut to council crisis funding would affect ‘thousands’ image

Three-quarters of councils will scrap or shrink support for England’s most vulnerable people if the Government cuts funding next year, leaders claim.

The Local Government Association (LGA) today warned against plans to ditch the £347m Local Welfare Assistance fund, used by town halls to provide emergency support for people facing homelessness, care leavers and families struggling to put food on the table.

A poll suggests loss of government funding would mean thousands could lose out on support including food vouchers, household essentials and short-term help paying the rent.

Some 15% of local authorities said they would have to completely scrap local welfare assistance schemes if funding was pulled.

Ministers have pledged to formally consult local authorities on the decision to discontinue funding from next April, which councils labelled an ‘important opportunity to reconsider’.

The funding was introduced in 2013 to replace government-provided crisis loans, with councils allocated cash from the £347m pot.

‘Taking away this money could prove counterproductive and risks storing up much bigger, and more costly problems in the longer run,’ said Cllr Claire Kober, chair of the LGA's resources board.

‘Thousands of people have been helped through local welfare schemes, which have been far more effective at getting support to those most in need than the Government crisis loans scheme which it replaced.

‘Councils will be doing everything in their power to support those who need it most, but with less money and fewer resources to work with this is going to become increasingly difficult. For some local authorities, where budgets are already on the brink, they will have no choice but to close their local welfare assistance schemes down altogether,’ added Cllr Kober.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: ‘The changes made to funding of local welfare provision were never about abolishing support and it’s a total misrepresentation to suggest they were. This Government has given councils more control because they understand best their local area’s needs – this is in contrast to the previous centralised grant system, which was inflexible and poorly targeted. We are now consulting on how funding should be provided for 2015/16.’

Time for a council tax precept to fund CCTV image

Time for a council tax precept to fund CCTV

The crisis in funding for CCTV systems is not being addressed by the government or the police and is leading to the curtailment of this vital service in local authorities across the country. How can we ensure that communities that want this service continue to receive it, asks Tom Reeve.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Service Director – Development & Regulation

West Berkshire Council
Up to £96,585 per annum
We are looking for a candidate with the passion for place making and a successful track record in leading and developing large multi-service teams.  Newbury, Berkshire
Recuriter: West Berkshire Council

Mayoralty & Business Manager

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£41,292 - £50,034
The Mayoralty & Business Manager will be responsible for maintaining the reputation of both Mayoralties and promoting a positive image of... London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Joint Assistant Director - Communities and Wellbeing

Babergh & Mid Suffolk
£75,000
Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils are at the forefront of joint working and are a progressive award-winning partnership Ipswich, Suffolk
Recuriter: Babergh & Mid Suffolk

Procurement Networking Event

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Procurement Networking EventClosing Date
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Community Support Worker - Mental Health & Wellbeing

Essex County Council
£21057 - £27391 per annum
Community Support Worker - Mental Health & WellbeingFixed Term, Full Time£21,057 - £27,391 per annumLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue