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Monday, 21 April 2014

Local Welfare Assistance

The Guardian has a good piece on the facts around local welfare assistance.  What is does not bring out is the extent to which Councils are constrained by central government policy.  Not only did central government simply shunt the responsibility on to Councils with a significant reduction in funding, it did so with very little notice.  It is also inherently harder for local authorities to give out loans since (unlike the DWP) they cannot dock benefits.  That means that they cannot recover past assistance and roll it over into next year in the way the DWP could.  Hence there is even less funding in the system, even ignoring the 10% cut.

There is also every prospect of the entire funding being cut from 2015, which would leave Councils cutting services even further to carry on the payments, or simply stop the scheme altogether.  In turn this makes Councils reluctant to publicise the system since it may not exist soon.

The whole policy is one designed to fail, but with the blame transferred away from central government.  As such it is one of Iain Duncan Smith's most cynical manoeuvres.

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