This week CPAG have responded to the government's consultation on funding for local welfare provision in 2015/16. You can read our response here.
Local welfare provision (LWP) was set up by councils in April 2013 following the abolition of the social fund. The schemes help households on a low income manage one-off or unexpected expenditure, such as replacing a broken cooker or setting up home after fleeing domestic violence.
To date, LWP has been funded by a specific DWP grant. However, in December 2013 the government published indicative figures which suggested that LWP would receive no dedicated funding from 2015/16. After a successful challenge by CPAG and others in the courts, the government committed to consult widely on various funding options.
The consultation places three specific options on the table, none of which proposes maintaining funding levels for 2015/16, while a fourth option allows respondents to propose ‘other options for delivering and funding local welfare provision’.
CPAG is unequivocally supporting option 4 in the consultation. Specifically we are calling for:
• Funding for LWP be maintained at least in line with current levels;
• In recognition the part that LWP plays in the social security system, funding be maintained via a section 31 grant from DWP;
• Funds be ring-fenced to ensure that all local authorities provide LWP for their residents;
• Minimum standards to monitor LWP be placed on local authorities to ensure informed decisions about LWP can be made in the future;
• That DWP, DCLG and Treasury provide clarity as to how LWP will be funded beyond 2015/16;
• That proposals made under option 4 be given due consideration at a formative stage of decision making to ensure that the consultation truly facilitates a “fresh decision”’ as required by the consent order.
You can also read our blogs on this issue: