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Stop the Cruellest Cut of All

Thursday, 08 January 2015 14:25

Apparently, the Government received over 5000 responses to the consultation on Local Welfare Assistance Funding back in November 2014. A phenomenal response, showing the strength of feeling about the loss of this vital last life-line or `safety net’ for people in crisis; FRN is still waiting for a direct response from Government about our concerns.

But guess what? When the Government announced Local Authority Financial Settlement plans on 19th December 2014, it also announced yet another consultation on the subject.

So all is not lost?

Well, it’s certainly confusing - but no; but you do need to engage in the process (again) as a matter of urgency, by 15th January 2015.

The Government announced that there is now “separately identifiable funding” of £130 million so councils can fund the local welfare assistance schemes if they want (do note that this is £47 million/ year less than 2013/14 & 2014/15).

Confusingly, this isn’t extra funding; financial provision to help those in crisis must come from councils’ existing and shrinking budgets. It’s not ring-fenced. Mind you, it wasn’t for the first two years of this new council responsibility either.

Therefore, it seems we need to implore the Government yet again, and to cajole local authorities to make some provision from general funding to help homeless families, people leaving care, disabled residents, survivors of domestic abuse and people with long-term health conditions.

We [charities; local voluntary sector organisations; local authorities; councillors; anyone working with vulnerable/in-crisis individuals and families] all need to respond to this by 15th January 2015:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/389113/Local_Government_Finance_Settlement_2015-16_-_Consultation.pdf

The question the consultation asks under: `Section 2.2 – Local Welfare Provision Funding’ is:

Do you agree with the Government’s proposal that local welfare provision funding of £129.6m should be identified within the settlement by creating a new element distributed in line with local welfare provision funding in 2014-15?

The Furniture Re-use Network will strongly make the case for the additional funding needed for these schemes.

We shall be posting our response to this blog page in the next couple of days.

In addition there will be a House of Lords debate on 22nd January 2015 on the Local Government Finance Settlement.  The debate will be led by Lord Beecham and Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon.

The Furniture Re-use Network is part of the `Keep The Safety Net’ campaign.

What is the Keep the Safety Net campaign?

The Keep the Safety Net campaign is a group of over 17 charities, foundations, faith leaders and organisations, including a membership body with over 100 members, which oppose the abolition of the Local Welfare Provision Fund (LWA). We are respected organisations, some many centuries old, working with the most vulnerable people in society.

Tens of thousands of low income households depend upon a positive outcome.

#keepthesafetynet

#reusematters

#localgov

 

Helen Middleton is Market Development Manager for the Furniture Re-use Network.

 

Read 2009 times Last modified on Thursday, 24 September 2015 15:33

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