The Labour and Co-operative Group has expressed alarm at the government’s plans to end the Local Welfare Assistance Fund from April 2015. The fund has provided vital help for local people facing personal crises, from helping pay the rent to putting food on the table. Labour strongly urges for the fund to continue, and seeks the support of the council to demand that Eric Pickles reinstates this vital fund.
Emma Daniel, Labour Councillor for Hanover and Elm Grove, said:
Ending the Local Welfare Assistance Fund will have a devastating effect on the residents of Brighton and Hove. Combined with severe cuts to benefits and a sharp rise in poverty figures, more people living from hand to mouth will find themselves in a more vulnerable position. If an unexpected crisis hits, they will no longer be able to receive emergency funds from the council. This is why I am calling for the Local Welfare Assistance Fund to continue and for the Chief Executive to write to Eric Pickles to ensure that this happens.
- Brighton and Hove City Council’s Local Welfare Assistance Fund operates under the name ‘Local Discretionary Social Fund’
- The Local Welfare Assistance fund was introduced in 2013 to replace government-provided crisis loans, with each local authority area allocated money from the £347 million total. Government's local government finance settlement published last December revealed that funding would not be continued from 2015, despite no consultation being held on the scheme's future.
- Poverty has been rising sharply in the South-East which is indicated by the rising demand for food banks. In Fiscal Year 2013/2014, the Trussell Trust provided help through food banks to 91,974 people in the South-East. This is up from 44,951 in the previous Fiscal Year – an increase of 105 per cent in just one year.