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Liverpool Social Fund Consultation (by 9/11)

Liverpool – changes to the Social Fund

Liverpool City Council (LCC) held a first consultation meeting on 28/9/12 about the changes they are proposing which follow the closure of the DWPs' Social Fund in 2013.

They said that some aspects of the Social Fund (the Community Care Grants and the Crisis Loans) will be replaced by a Liverpool Citizens' Support Scheme. There are about 40,000 applications a year currently for these benefits, and LCC thinks that the money from Whitehall they will get is much less than the sums they currently pay out.

Social Fund payments have been loans which DWP can reclaim, getting them back through stoppages on other government benefits. LCC can’t do that, so the new Support Scheme payment will have to be grants. That’s better in the short term for people who get them, but will use up the available money faster.

LCC wants to get more sustainable support to people claiming under the scheme,, so they don’t have to come back for more funds from the schemet. It wants to signpost claimants to other sources of benefit and support within the voluntary sector.

But there was an obvious question at the meeting - to which there was no helpful answer: how can the voluntary sector provide that help when its own grant income is being reduced . If voluntary sector help reduces the council's benefit bill, how could the sector get a share from LCC of those savings?

Voluntary groups pointed out that most of the current Social Fund Crisis Loans were needed because of slowness of DWP decisions about benefit. They though that when the Universal Credit system starts in 2014 they expect the usual start-up glitches to make that even more of a problem.

Consultation - by 9/11/12

The current LCC consultation asks who you think the new Liverpool Support Scheme should provide benefits for and what it should pay for. For example, should it be available

  • to people who have their own savings?
  • to pay for emergency travel costs?
  • to pay for a TV?
  • for repeat claims?

There are two consultation forms available – one for individuals and one (without the equality monitoring questions) for organisations. You can ...