Call for ‘urgent rethink’ of plans to cut crisis fund

COUNTY HALL: Lancashire County Council is responsible for the pot
COUNTY HALL: Lancashire County Council is responsible for the pot
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County council bosses have called for an ‘urgent rethink’ after it emerged a crisis fund to help the needy is set to be scrapped.

Control of the urgent needs support scheme was handed to councils from the Department of Work and Pensions in April last year.

The fund is to help residents in extreme circumstances who need help with essentials such as food, bedding, emergency transport costs and similar.

But now the money the county council receives from the government to run the scheme is to be cut completely next year.

Deputy Leader of Lancashire County Council Coun David Borrow said: “It emerged in December’s grant settlement to the council that Government funding for the Urgent Need Grant scheme will now been cut entirely from April 2015.

“The Conservatives have again slashed funding to Lancashire leaving our county with a further £3m pound black hole, on top of the £300m in cuts we already face in the next four years.”

Coun Borrow added: “I have written to the Department for Communities and Local Government calling for an urgent rethink of the proposals.

“We plan to set up a cabinet working group to examine the implications of the cut to Lancashire’s poorest residents and consider what the council will be able to do to mitigate the worst effects of this policy.”

It comes just days after the Evening Post revealed that of a ££2.937m cash pot handed to the council for the grants, just £352,685 has been allocated to the county’s most vulnerable in a six-month period.

Wherever possible, cash payments are avoided and awards are made in the form of goods. To apply for help call 0845 053 0015.