To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the potential effects of removing dedicated funding for local welfare assistance; and if he will review the current local welfare assistance arrangements introduced in 2013 before any such change is made.
In the next spending round period, from April 2015, central Government will continue to provide support to local authorities through general funds, as part of the coalition Government's commitment to reducing ring-fencing and ending top-down Whitehall control.
It was always the intention that 2014-15 would be the last year of separate funding for local welfare provision from the Department for Work and Pensions. Councils will continue to provide support to those in their community who face financial difficulties or who find themselves in unavoidable circumstances.
In contrast to a centralised grant system that was poorly targeted, councils can now choose how to best support local welfare needs within their areas. As this is an administrative change only no assessment has been made of the effects. However we are carrying out a review of the current arrangements, working with the Local Government Association and the Department for Communities and Local Government. Once completed it is our intention to place a copy of the findings in the House Library.