Sunday, 01 March 2015

Housing groups condemn plan to end crisis loans

Government plans to abolish parts of a fund to help vulnerable people have been slammed by 20 organisations.

The coalition government plans to remove crisis loans and community care grants from the social fund and transfer administration to councils.

The organisations, in a joint letter to the Guardian newspaper and welfare reform minister Lord David Freud, warn that this could leave vulnerable people with little or no support.

The letter said: ‘Crisis loans and community care grants are the ultimate safety net for the most vulnerable in society.

‘For example, they enable women and children fleeing domestic violence to clothe themselves and furnish their homes or parents in rural areas who cannot afford a car to visit their child if they are taken into hospital unexpectedly. We are deeply concerned at the government’s proposals to abolish these elements of the social fund and pass some of the funding to local authorities, without any statutory obligation to ensure they provide emergency support to vulnerable people.’

The letter’s signatories include the National Housing Federation, Crisis, Homeless Link, St Mungo’s and the Child Poverty Action Group.

The social fund reform proposals are likely to be debated when the Welfare Reform Bill returns to the House of Lords on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said: ‘We’re reforming the social fund because it is too complex and poorly targeted.

‘Local authorities are best placed to deliver this support and will ensure that it goes to those most in need.

‘People will now benefit from local knowledge and wider support services.’

Readers' comments (4)

  • Rick Campbell

    Perhaps it's about time that social housing landlords (via their 'trade bodies') got a grip of the situation and listened to tenant activists

    -- a mass protest of the House of Commons and a mass lobby might rattle enough cages in Parliament to cause MPs and Lords/Ladies to learn from history

    .... as in the "Poll Tax Riots"?

    This bunch of chumps in power, propped up by the treacherous DubDems need to get a dose of real life (as do the imbicilic non-Opposition) before millions are driven into the arms of the extremisr parties.

    History can teach us all a lot,

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  • Without being awarded crisis loans and budgeting loans ( following proper means testing ) over the years, neither my son or myself would be alive today. The existing system works very well - so why get rid of it ? Oh and yes the LOANS were fully repayed = but essential for us to live at the time.

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  • F451

    Another element of the Poor Law is returned by this action - I'd advise all those supportive of the coalition proposals on the relief of poverty (including those Blue Labourites who lack historical perspective) to research why the Poor Law had to be discontinued and replaced with a national system of poor relief. There is no credible financial scope for reimplementing local poverty relief.

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  • I think we are correct in revewing the social fund and allowing LA to issue. Currently in my experience crisis loans and CCG are open to abuse and do get abused by people, this is evident in my line of work- however the social fund is also a life line for many vulnerable people. This fund needs to be administered fairly and with guidlines to ensure it reaches the people its designed to support. The last time I heard that the JCP was going to be issuing social fund loans once each claimant had been interviewed- this is a good idea in principle , however the JCP in my opinion would be far stretched to deliver this service. Not sure how the LA would cope currently either given the re - shuffling of teams and lay off's- again changes that are coming will effect the most vulnerable and poor people in society- Why? because its easier than chasing wealthy tax avoiding people or companies or MP'S- When you look at history ! we have not changed when it comes to vulnerable people !! in regards to cuts !!

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