Government to remove help from families in crisis

March 3, 2011

Commenting on today’s announcement of new rules preventing access to crisis loans to be brought in next month, the Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group, Alison Garnham, said:

“We are shocked that Ministers would cut holes in the final layer of the safety net for families hit by a crisis.

“Ministers have to accept more responsibility for the rise in crisis loan applications. It is under their instructions that when delays happen to benefit claims, people are told to apply for a crisis loan. Ministers are failing to use the powers they have to make interim payments when a benefit claim has been received but it’s assessment is delayed. We need to know why interim payments are not being used and undue strain is being put on crisis loan funds.

“Most worrying of all is the lack of any mention is the Minister’s statement of how the wellbeing of children will be protected when families are left in utter destitution by the removal of their right to a crisis loan.

“We know that the Chancellor is getting more tax receipts than he expected, so these cuts could have been avoided without derailing government spending plans. The wrong decision has been made here with very grave consequences.”

Notes for editors

  • Today’s Ministerial Written Statement from the Work and Pensions Minister, Steve Webb, revealed that from 4th April 2011, social fund crisis loans will cut as follows:

    - Items such as cookers and beds will no longer be eligible. There will be residual support for people following a disaster such as flooding;

    - The rate paid for living expenses will reduce from 75 per cent down to 60 per cent of benefit rate; and

    - There will be a cap of three Crisis Loan awards for general living expenses in a rolling twelve month period. It appears this will apply regardless of repeated delays were due to official delays and errors.

  •  For up-to-date background facts and stats on UK poverty, visit: www.cpag.org.uk/povertyfacts/
  • CPAG is the leading charity campaigning for the abolition of child poverty in the UK and for a better deal for low-income families and children.
  • CPAG is one of over 150 member organisations of the Campaign to End Child Poverty, campaigning for public and political commitment to ensure the goals of halving child poverty by 2010 and ending child poverty by 2020 are met.

For further information please contact:
Tim Nichols
CPAG Press Officer
Tel. 020 7812 5216 or 07816 909302 
tnichols@cpag.org.uk