Plymouth's financial crisis grant welfare fund to be slashed
THE amount of money available to help people in a financial crisis is being cut by nearly a third.
From April, Plymouth City Council will administer a new Emergency and Welfare Fund to replace the Government's Social Fund.
The fund provides community care grants and crisis loans for the most vulnerable, for example those in absolute financial crisis or who are leaving the care system.
The council will take over the responsibility from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) from April.
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But the Government is giving the council £345,272 – or 28per cent – less than it spent in 2010/11, the last year for which figures have been confirmed.
In that year 11,460 people applied for crisis and community care grants and 8,170 were awarded, costing the DWP £1.2million.
In the last financial year the DWP estimates that demand fell to 9,500 applications of which 6,410 were approved.
The council is finding £105,000 through efficiencies in the delivery costs to top up the fund.
Cllr Chris Penberthy, the Cabinet member for co-operatives and community development, said: "As more Government cuts are implemented the harder it's going to be on residents in Plymouth.
"We will have very limited funds so assessments will be tough, especially as we anticipate a rising demand for a smaller pot of money.
"We may be in the difficult position of being forced to turn people away because of this Government cut."
Plymouth residents will be able to apply for help if they find themselves without any money. For example their money has been lost or stolen, they have lost their possessions in a fire or flood, key household goods urgently need replacing or they require support moving out of care.
Crisis payments will be considered for such things as buying food, or paying for utilities or emergency travel.