The rapid demise of local authority welfare assistance schemes, Universal Credit and complex need plans.

GMPA have produced an excellent report – “local welfare assistance schemes: the urgent need for a new approach” – weirdly enough talking about the urgent need for a new approach to local welfare assistance. Information wasn’t obtained in the case of 19 local authorities but nevertheless key findings include

Key findings include:

  • 22 local authorities don’t operate local welfare assistance schemes. GMPA estimates that this means 7.75 million people are living in areas where crisis support isn’t available.
  • A further 29 schemes are under threat, with local authorities having cut the budget for their schemes by two-thirds over the last three years or operating schemes on budgets of less than £100,000 a year.
  • The number of awards made through Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans was over 1.3 million in 2010/11 and over 700k in 2012/13 (the final year of the national scheme). This compares to a little over 161k successful applications for support through local welfare assistance schemes in 2017/18. This represents a fall in support of 88% between 2010/11 and 2017/18.
  • In Greater Manchester, spending on crisis support in 2017/18 was £3.8 million. This is over £15 million lower than spending under Crisis Loan and Community Care Grant provision in 2010/11. The number of successful applications for support through local schemes in Greater Manchester was 10,077 in 2017/18 compared to 123,220 Community Care Grants and Crisis Loan awards made in 2010/11.

The context for this decimation needs to be that, where an area has Universal Credit full service, complex needs plans may be referencing local welfare assistance which no longer exists. We don’t need to add anything to that do we! Well, there’s this we suppose.

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One of the biggest reallocations of public resources in 25 years

GMWRAG is disturbed to note that in a week in which the government has decided too many people are getting PIP because they, er, need help, we are now faced with what The Guardian has called “one of the biggest reallocations of public resources in 25 years” with a proposal that has been mooted repeatedly in recent years finally coming out into the light. This would see responsibility for Attendance Allowance moving from the DWP to local authorities.

This has been mentioned previously in the interim report from the Commission on the future of health and social care in England but this has suddenly become a lot more real.

As we all know the general trend of closing down the DWP and privatising what it is left has not exactly worked well with either the Independent Living Fund or the rise in food banks as local welfare assistance schemes have fallen short.

GMWRAG therefore wanted to give members a heads up on what now looks like a full frontal assault on disability benefits. How long before the long awaited review of DLA for children?