Robbie Spence's blog

What do experts and professionals think of the ‘local welfare safety net’?

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Does local discretion on social security deliver ‘localism in action’ or a postcode lottery? That’s one of the questions being asked by the Commons Work and Pensions select committee in looking at the interaction between the national benefits system and locally-run schemes.

Where next for local welfare assistance and emergency provision?


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Last week the Prime Minister promoted to the Cabinet a critic of the Coalition government’s original plans to end dedicated funding for local welfare schemes. While Amber Rudd MP’s career hasn’t been harmed by her stance, what are the prospects for local welfare assistance schemes (LWAS) and other emergency provision?  

For the uninitiated, in 2013 council-run LWAS replaced the discretionary Social Fund as the way we help people on low incomes cope with unexpected or one-off costs – the safety net beneath our safety net.