Vulnerable people will suffer if government grant is withdrawn, warn region's councils

The Northern Echo: Middlesbrough's deputy mayor called the decision "manifestly unfair" Middlesbrough's deputy mayor called the decision "manifestly unfair"

ESSENTIAL support for some of the North-East’s most vulnerable people is in jeopardy as the Government moves to axe crisis grants worth £180m from April 2015.

In a bid to transfer more control to local authorities, the Government plans to withdraw a centralised grant system that supports people facing severe hardship.

Councils across the region have warned that the "unfair" decision could have a significant impact on vulnerable people.

Following the abolishment of the nationally administered Social Fund as part of the recent Welfare Reform Act, the grant was used to set up welfare assistance schemes across the country.

A crisis support element helps to cover vital short-term expenses such as food or clothes while the community care element provides people in crisis with basic living essentials such as beds.

A grant of about £900,000 was used to help more than 4,000 people in Middlesbrough in 2012/13.

The town’s deputy mayor, David Budd, said: “A wide range of support provided within Middlesbrough is being placed in jeopardy.

“This is manifestly unfair and is yet another example of those in the greatest need being hit the hardest.”

Antony Sandys, housing benefit manager at Darlington Borough Council – which received about £400,000 a year - said: “This seems to be what central government do, transfer responsibility to local authorities with a grant and then pull the rug out after a couple of years and say it’s now up to you.

“This could have a massive impact on people who come to us because they don’t have anything and can’t afford to heat or eat.

“We will keep a safety net for the most vulnerable people but we may have to limit who we can help and scale things back.”

Councillor David Harrington from Stockton Council pledged to lobby the Government if the grant is abolished.

He said: “We will be disappointed and will be lobbying Government to ensure residents have access to the support they may require should they find themselves in a crisis situation.”

Don McClure, corporate director for resources for Durham County Council, said: “The loss of funding will clearly leave a gap of essential services to vulnerable people.”

A Government spokesman said: “In contrast to a centralised grant system that was poorly targeted councils can now choose how to best to support local welfare needs within their areas – what is right for inner London will not be for the North-East.

“Government continues to provide support to local authorities’ through general funds as part of the Government’s commitment to reducing ring-fencing and ending top-down Whitehall control.”

All councils approached said they remained committed to providing support for those in crisis.

Comments (6)

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7:35am Thu 16 Jan 14

greenfinger says...

“We will keep a safety net for the most vulnerable people but we may have to limit who we can help and scale things back.”? that hardly sounds fair either.
“We will keep a safety net for the most vulnerable people but we may have to limit who we can help and scale things back.”? that hardly sounds fair either. greenfinger
  • Score: -1

9:39am Thu 16 Jan 14

Auldgadgey says...

"In a bid to transfer more control to local authorities" in other words "we are keeping all the money down here in the south"
We used to have a social contract that provided a safety net for vulnerable people in times of need, now you have to go cap in hand "on the parish".
Cameron has already stated that this government intends to take us back to before 1948, in this part of the country he has far exceeded that aim.
Non of this is economics it is all ideology.
"In a bid to transfer more control to local authorities" in other words "we are keeping all the money down here in the south" We used to have a social contract that provided a safety net for vulnerable people in times of need, now you have to go cap in hand "on the parish". Cameron has already stated that this government intends to take us back to before 1948, in this part of the country he has far exceeded that aim. Non of this is economics it is all ideology. Auldgadgey
  • Score: -5

1:07pm Thu 16 Jan 14

Voice-of-reality says...

Local councils should look after the welfare needs of local people. If there are too many 'poor people' in the locality then the locality needs to start to ask itself some hard questions: 'why is our locality not performing', 'why are there more single mothers here than anywhere else', 'why do people in our locality choose to spend more on fags and booze than their kids' and so on. It may be a painful session of looking at one's own area - but the answers lie within it.

The people of Middlesbrough (taken as a whole) do not produce enough to sustain their town, they do not produce enough wealth to pay all of welfare bills of their own citizens - so the people themselves need to take action and lead the political debate. Any given area cannot just go on relying on others to pay for their wider bills.

Perhaps more people in Middlesbrough (and other areas) should be proactive and ask more questions as to why their 'wider neighbours' are not doing their bit? For instance, the neighbour of the mother with 5 kids by 5 different men should perhaps be politely told by neighbours that she should keep her legs shut and that the society in which she lives will not pay her to have more kids. I use this merely as a single example - there are many others.

The safety net should be there for the truly vulnerable, it should not be there for the feckless, the boozers, the lifestyle scroungers, and those who believe (wrongly) that they posses a god given right to breed and for the bill to be paid for by others.
Local councils should look after the welfare needs of local people. If there are too many 'poor people' in the locality then the locality needs to start to ask itself some hard questions: 'why is our locality not performing', 'why are there more single mothers here than anywhere else', 'why do people in our locality choose to spend more on fags and booze than their kids' and so on. It may be a painful session of looking at one's own area - but the answers lie within it. The people of Middlesbrough (taken as a whole) do not produce enough to sustain their town, they do not produce enough wealth to pay all of welfare bills of their own citizens - so the people themselves need to take action and lead the political debate. Any given area cannot just go on relying on others to pay for their wider bills. Perhaps more people in Middlesbrough (and other areas) should be proactive and ask more questions as to why their 'wider neighbours' are not doing their bit? For instance, the neighbour of the mother with 5 kids by 5 different men should perhaps be politely told by neighbours that she should keep her legs shut and that the society in which she lives will not pay her to have more kids. I use this merely as a single example - there are many others. The safety net should be there for the truly vulnerable, it should not be there for the feckless, the boozers, the lifestyle scroungers, and those who believe (wrongly) that they posses a god given right to breed and for the bill to be paid for by others. Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 3

1:12pm Thu 16 Jan 14

SilviaGreen00 says...

Wow.I just got paid five thousand usd working off my laptop this month. And if you think that's cool, my divorced friend has twin toddlers and made over Eight thousand usd her first month. It feels so good making so much money when other people have to work for so much less. This is what I do, Best96.com
Wow.I just got paid five thousand usd working off my laptop this month. And if you think that's cool, my divorced friend has twin toddlers and made over Eight thousand usd her first month. It feels so good making so much money when other people have to work for so much less. This is what I do, Best96.com SilviaGreen00
  • Score: -2

2:44pm Thu 16 Jan 14

sineater says...

VOR, Yawn zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
zzzzzzzzz
VOR, Yawn zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzz sineater
  • Score: -2

4:52pm Thu 16 Jan 14

David Lacey says...

Wonderful stuff VOR. Goes right to the heart of the matter.
Wonderful stuff VOR. Goes right to the heart of the matter. David Lacey
  • Score: 2

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