Council to commit funding to continue welfare scheme
Telford & Wrekin Council is set to commit £138,000 to enable a scheme that provides goods or services to residents in genuine need to continue into the next financial year.
As part of this, the current Local Crisis and Local Resettlement Assistance scheme will be renamed the Emergency Welfare Assistance Policy to avoid confusion with other organisations that use “crisis” in their title.
The council has to find funding to enable the scheme to continue after the government decided to discontinue the funding despite lobbying from the Local Government Association.
The basic principals of Telford & Wrekin Council’s scheme are that the assistance is through provision of goods or services. Neither cash payments nor payments into bank accounts will be made except in very rare circumstances.
The key reasons why residents receive crisis assistance include poor budgeting skills, debt, becoming homeless or moving into temporary accommodation, suspension of benefits or payments being delayed.
The council is forecasting that the scheme will be £104,000 underspent at the end of the financial year after receiving less applications than initially predicted.
It is recommended that this money rolls forward to the next financial year and is topped up by the £138,000 that cabinet is being asked to approve when it meets on November 13. The scheme will need to be reviewed again at the end of the 2015/16 financial year.
Councillor Bill McClements, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for Finance and Enterprise, said: “This new scheme has been designed to ensure local people who are in genuine need can access assistance in the form of goods and services at short notice.”