John Woodcock – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Communities and Local Government

The below Parliamentary question was asked by John Woodcock on 2014-01-27.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what representations he has received on the decision to withdraw the local welfare provision grant in 2015-16; and what consultation he undertook prior to making that decision.

Kris Hopkins

[Holding Reply: Thursday 30 January 2014]

DCLG Ministers and officials talk regularly to elected members and officers of local authorities about a range of issues.

The nationally run Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans were poorly targeted and failed to help those most in need. So, in 2012 as part of wider welfare reform, the Department for Work and Pensions abolished these national discretionary schemes and transferred responsibility to local authorities so they could deliver and tailor new local support as part of their existing services to their communities.

Councils can continue to provide support to those in their community who face financial difficulties or who find themselves in unavoidable circumstances, but there is no requirement to replicate the previous approach adopted by central government.

In contrast to a centralised grant system that was poorly targeted, under the Department for Work and Pensions’ reforms, councils can now choose how best to support local welfare needs within their areas – what is right for, say, Barrow and Furness may not be for other authorities. Some councils have already chosen to wind down their dedicated schemes following underspends.

In the next Spending Round period, from April 2015, central government continues to provide support to local authorities through general funds as part of the Coalition Government’s commitment to reducing ring-fencing and ending top-down Whitehall control.

The Department for Work and Pensions provided a separate fund for 2013-2015 and are carrying out a review of the provision to date.