It’s a big day tomorrow for campaigners against the government’s benefits reforms/cuts as the Welfare Reform Bill comes up for debate in the House of Lords.
One issue that has united charities across social care in condemnation is the planned abolition of the discretionary Social Fund, which provides grants and loans to people in crisis. Though the budget for crisis loans and community care grants is being devolved to councils, this will not be ring-fenced, nor will authorities face any statutory obligations to use the money as it is now used.
Now 20 charities from the worlds of disability (Scope), family support (Family Action), children’s services (Barnardo’s), homelessness (Crisis) and domestic violence (Women’s Aid) are urging peers to back an amendment to effectively ring-fence the money.
They say: “As charities, working hard to respond to the needs of vulnerable children and adults in already desperate circumstances, we fear these changes could be catastrophic for some, such as those who resort to illegal moneylenders or high-cost credit, or women who return to live with a violent partner because they have no money to furnish another home for their children.”
Let’s see if the House of Lords hears this message.