UK councils to slash emergency welfare schemes

The Local Government Association (LGA) conducted and published on Monday the survey of 150 English local authorities.

SHAFAQNA- A report says almost three-quarters of local authorities are to abandon or scale back emergency welfare schemes if the UK government presses ahead with plans to cut a £175-million grant.

According to the report, one in six councils would be unable to afford to run the scheme and only eight percent said they would continue running the program at current levels if ministers cut the grant from next April.

Claire Kober, chair of LGA resources board, said the planned cut would result in many local authorities not having sufficient funds to run a crisis safety net scheme.

“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,” said Kober.

“For some local authorities, where budgets are already on the brink, they will have no choice but to close their local welfare assistance schemes down altogether,” Kober added.

The report said that if the government is to discontinue the grant, tens of thousands of Britons, including low-income families in crisis situations such as benefit sanctions or flooding, would receive little or no state help, forcing families to use food banks or resort to loan sharks.

The Department for Work and Pensions responded to the report’s finding, saying the coalition government believes local authorities were adequately funded to continue running the scheme without the specific government grant.

Britain’s current coalition government launched austerity measures when it came to power in 2010 in a bid to tackle the country’s mounting debt and sluggish growth, but the policies have sparked opposition and public protests in recent years.


Source: Press TV


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