Town Hall chiefs warned that families in crisis will be left starving and risk eviction if plans to stop emergency funding go ahead. Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary is to scrap the Local Welfare Assistance budget (£347million) in April.This fund was set up in 2013 to replace crisis loans for those needing emergency support.
The Mirror reports:- The Local Government Association is calling for him to rethink the decision, saying councils will not have the cash to help families facing homelessness or starvation.
A survey of local authorities in England found three-quarters will have to cut help to the poorest families, while 15% say they will have to end it completely.
Much of the money goes towards providing food parcels, vouchers, cookers and payment cards for people who have moved from care, have had their benefits stopped or are at risk of eviction.
Last year Manchester City Council alone handed out £200,000 in food poverty grants to people in dire need.
Cllr Claire Kober, chair of the Local Government Association’s Resources Board, said: “This fund has been used by councils to provide crucial support to people facing personal crises in their lives, from help paying the rent to putting food on the table.
“We think the Government has made the wrong decision to remove the funding for this safety net and it was misjudged to have done so.
“Thousands of people have been helped through local welfare schemes, which have been far more effective at getting support to those most in need than the Government crisis loans scheme which it replaced.
“If government pulls the plug on funding from April, many local authorities will be unable to afford to make up the difference at a time when we are tackling the biggest cuts to council funding in living memory.”
A Government spokesman said: “This Government has given councils more control because they understand their residents’ welfare needs best. We are now consulting on how funding should be provided for 2015/16.”