Welfare Assistance Schemes

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 2nd August 2016.

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Photo of Lord Hylton Lord Hylton Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much of England is covered by Local Welfare Assistance Schemes; and what assessment they have made of whether those schemes have the necessary resources to make known the emergency financial support that is available to benefit claimants suffering from delays or other problems connected with Universal Credit.

Photo of Lord Freud Lord Freud The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

From April 2013, non-ring fenced funding was passed to local authorities in England and to the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales, who all now administer Welfare Assistance Schemes on a devolved and localised basis. How those local authorities administer this support is for them to decide and outside of my Department’s remit.

In 2014 the Department undertook a review of this change and confirmed that local authorities were delivering targeted support more effectively than was the case with the previous provision under the Social Fund. This confirmed the Government’s wider view that local authorities are best placed to deliver help and support at a local level, ensuring effective provision for those who need it most, and coherent links with wider social care.

Further support is available from Universal Credit and Universal Support for claimants who are in financial difficulty or who are awaiting a Universal Credit payment. This includes advance payments, Alternative Payment Arrangements (more frequent payments, split payments within a household and the payment of rent direct to landlords) and Personal Budgeting support.

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