Scrapping emergency fund will give crisis-hit families nowhere to turn – Northern Echo

Families in crisis will have nowhere to turn when a £10m emergency fund for the region is axed within months, campaigners warn today, according to the Northern Echo.

The Children’s Society raises the alarm over Government plans to scrap ‘local welfare assistance schemes’ – seen as a last lifeline to stop vulnerable people falling into debt and destitution.

The cash – administered by local authorities – is helping an estimated 80,000 people across the North-East and North Yorkshire in this financial year, the organisation said.

Some are women fleeing domestic violence, who desperately need money quickly to buy an oven for their new home.

Other grants are given to parents so they can visit their sick child in hospital, or to struggling families when they face an emergency cost such as a broken boiler.

But the funding will be withdrawn from next April, under proposals put forward by the department for work and pensions (DWP) expected to be confirmed in the New Year.

Ministers say local councils can fund the schemes themselves – but those councils must themselves find billions of pounds of savings, amid huge cuts to their Whitehall grants.

Matthew Reed, The Children’s Society chief executive, said: “This is a cut too far.

“At a time of increasing child poverty, high levels of problem debts, and cuts to support for families, it is more important than ever that local welfare assistance schemes are available to help families in crisis.

“Without these schemes, families will have to choose between going without basic essentials to keep their family safe and healthy – such as food or heating – and turning to high cost credit or payday loans, plunging them into a debt trap.”

Durham County Council – which will lose £407,270, if the plans go ahead – said it had not yet drawn up proposals to plug the gap.

Roger Goodes, head of policy, said: “We are looking at how we might be able to continue to support people, should funding be withdrawn.

“Once the funding situation is confirmed, we would expect to develop detailed proposals which would be put to members of the council’s Cabinet for consideration.”

 Almost three-quarters of councils are planning to hack back their schemes – or end them completely – according to a recent Local Government Association survey.

But a DWP spokeswoman insisted it was not planning to end support, but giving councils greater freedom how to spend funds from Whitehall.

She said: “This Government is giving councils more control because they understand best their local area’s needs. This is in contrast to the old centralised grant system that was poorly targeted.”

The estimate that almost 80,000 people in the region are currently receiving help is based on the average grant of £124.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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4 thoughts on “Scrapping emergency fund will give crisis-hit families nowhere to turn – Northern Echo

  1. Mr.Angry

    Mike thanks for this, they are going to far, why are the public not rioting on the streets or maybe the majority are not affected and just don’t care. I wonder how much truth there is in what one reads about the Bilderburg meetings, seems very strange protests are taking place across the globe. Australia, Italy, Greece, Canada, everywhere employing austerity, read this morning about 200,000 protesting in Belgium since the right wing won power last month.

    Their new right wing politicians using same situation there, cutting NHS, wages and increasing retirement age to sixty seven, they are up in arms and rightly so.

    Is this the way to depopulate the planet so what remains is for the chosen elite?

    One wonders why the Bilderburg meetings are so secretive. Very very sad way to treat fellow citizens.

    1. Maria

      My dad says this but the answer is they are pulling the wool over most peoples eye, eventually the public will see as them for what they really are. I don’t know when this will be, but I hope it is soon, something needs to be done, not just about the sick way they treat vulnerable people, but the growing inequality between all of it’s citizens.

  2. jaypot2012

    The people of Britain have not really done anything to stop this so called “government” from the pulling down of the poor and the lower classes, and so on.
    Yes, they want to cull a lot of “insignificant” people, millions of them if they can, but what they forget is they actually need these people. Who else is going to work for them and get their corporations turning over? The rich desperately need the lower classes and we have that over them all the time, it’s about time people started realising that they have the power to actually do something as millions more worker bees are needed for only a few queen bees.

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