Fears for poor East Lancashire families as crisis cash gets cut

Coun Azhar Ali

Coun Azhar Ali

First published in News
Last updated
Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

CRISIS loan funding for some of the neediest families in East Lancashire – totalling more than £3.5million – is set to be axed by the government.

Just 12 months ago funding for crisis loans, which were rebranded as care and urgent need grants, was slashed by more than a third.

But now from 2015 the Department of Work and Pensions has announced it will not be providing the Local Welfare Provision Grant – and insisted it must be paid for through general town hall funding.

County councillors and Blackburn with Darwen councillors are already facing making cuts of millions of pounds for 2015-16. County councillor Azhar Ali, health and wellbeing cabinet member, said: “The Conservatives have again slashed funding to Lancashire leaving our county with a further £3million black hole, on top of the £300 million in cuts we already face in the next four years. The plan to scrap funding for the Urgent Need Grant Scheme is putting communities in East Lancashire at risk.

“We are seeing record levels of residents, many of whom are in work, being forced into the queues at food banks and payday loan companies.”

Crisis loans or urgent need grants can only be used for essentials such as food, bedding, household needs and emergency transport costs.

County councillors have backed a cross-party letter questioning the funding cut, which was worth £2.9million in Lancashire in 2013-14 and £645,000 in Blackburn with Darwen.

And deputy county council leader Coun David Borrow said he will also lobby Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis to reinstate the grant when they meet at a network event next Monday.

A DWP spokesman said: “Councils will continue to provide support to those in their community who face financial difficulties or who find themselves in unavoidable circumstances. In contrast to a centralised grant system that was poorly targeted, councils can now choose how best to support local welfare needs within their areas – what is right for inner London will not be for rural Cumbria.

“Government continues to provide support to local authorities through general funds as part of the our commitment to reducing ring-fencing and ending top-down Whitehall control.”

DWP officials advise those in need to seek benefit advances or low-cost loans from community credit unions.

Comments (8)

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2:58pm Mon 13 Jan 14

mmickk says...

There is a need for this to stop people turning to payday loans as it is paid back directly out of benefits, would it not be feasible to charge 15% interest? Instead of it being interest free? At least then it creates jobs and is self funding even making a small profit for the council?
There is a need for this to stop people turning to payday loans as it is paid back directly out of benefits, would it not be feasible to charge 15% interest? Instead of it being interest free? At least then it creates jobs and is self funding even making a small profit for the council? mmickk
  • Score: 4

3:00pm Mon 13 Jan 14

frank says...

we're all in this together, what they take from the poor they can use to give money to the bankers.(lots of do nothing directorships??)
someone has to pay and it won't be the rich using food banks will it?
we're all in this together, what they take from the poor they can use to give money to the bankers.(lots of do nothing directorships??) someone has to pay and it won't be the rich using food banks will it? frank
  • Score: 7

5:04pm Mon 13 Jan 14

Michael@ClitheroeSince58 says...

frank wrote:
we're all in this together, what they take from the poor they can use to give money to the bankers.(lots of do nothing directorships??)
someone has to pay and it won't be the rich using food banks will it?
Well said Frank "we're all in this together" think I will get them words framed and put them on my mantelpiece.
[quote][p][bold]frank[/bold] wrote: we're all in this together, what they take from the poor they can use to give money to the bankers.(lots of do nothing directorships??) someone has to pay and it won't be the rich using food banks will it?[/p][/quote]Well said Frank "we're all in this together" think I will get them words framed and put them on my mantelpiece. Michael@ClitheroeSince58
  • Score: 6

5:09pm Mon 13 Jan 14

Timefor says...

More pain for the poor and voiceless from this shower of a government. Time they went instead of behaving so grotesquely.
More pain for the poor and voiceless from this shower of a government. Time they went instead of behaving so grotesquely. Timefor
  • Score: 5

5:46pm Mon 13 Jan 14

shytalk says...

Michael@ClitheroeSin
ce58
wrote:
frank wrote:
we're all in this together, what they take from the poor they can use to give money to the bankers.(lots of do nothing directorships??)
someone has to pay and it won't be the rich using food banks will it?
Well said Frank "we're all in this together" think I will get them words framed and put them on my mantelpiece.
Personally i would like to see Cameron being made to eat them.
[quote][p][bold]Michael@ClitheroeSin ce58[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]frank[/bold] wrote: we're all in this together, what they take from the poor they can use to give money to the bankers.(lots of do nothing directorships??) someone has to pay and it won't be the rich using food banks will it?[/p][/quote]Well said Frank "we're all in this together" think I will get them words framed and put them on my mantelpiece.[/p][/quote]Personally i would like to see Cameron being made to eat them. shytalk
  • Score: 5

6:06pm Mon 13 Jan 14

karltop says...

More political posturing from the usual suspects. Advocating even more theft from the paypackets of the hard-working, only to hand it to the lazy and feckless. Labour has betrayed the working-class, - ostensibly Labour's core vote. Azhar Ali would do well to remember that.
More political posturing from the usual suspects. Advocating even more theft from the paypackets of the hard-working, only to hand it to the lazy and feckless. Labour has betrayed the working-class, - ostensibly Labour's core vote. Azhar Ali would do well to remember that. karltop
  • Score: -1

6:06pm Mon 13 Jan 14

karltop says...

More political posturing from the usual suspects. Advocating even more theft from the paypackets of the hard-working, only to hand it to the lazy and feckless. Labour has betrayed the working-class, - ostensibly Labour's core vote. Azhar Ali would do well to remember that.
More political posturing from the usual suspects. Advocating even more theft from the paypackets of the hard-working, only to hand it to the lazy and feckless. Labour has betrayed the working-class, - ostensibly Labour's core vote. Azhar Ali would do well to remember that. karltop
  • Score: 0

11:48pm Mon 13 Jan 14

2 for 5p ridesagain says...

Oh that's a real shame, ! The little poor unfortunates will just have to smoke 10 Fags a day instead of 20
Oh that's a real shame, ! The little poor unfortunates will just have to smoke 10 Fags a day instead of 20 2 for 5p ridesagain
  • Score: -1

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