Council vows to assist city’s poorest people despite government cuts
Leeds City Council has vowed to find ways to continue to help those in poverty despite government funding being taken away.
Yesterday’s local government funding settlement announcement confirmed that the government will no longer provide extra funding to councils to help some of the poorest people.
Since 2013 Leeds City Council has been providing crisis payments to people in need, following the government’s decision to scrap the Jobcentre Plus-run crisis loans scheme. This was funded with a £2.8m grant from the government in 2013/14 and 2014/15, enabling the council to support thousands of residents faced with short-term emergencies.
However, yesterday’s funding announcement confirms that this extra money will no longer be available to councils across the country from next year. Instead of providing extra money, the government has identified an amount within the council’s grant that could be spent on local welfare support, despite the grant settlement being 15.8% less than was received last year.
Without the extra money Leeds City Council is unable to afford to continue providing the current scheme, however the council’s executive board has agreed that it will find money to run a reduced scheme from April 2015 but that regrettably more people will now need to be referred to food banks and furniture re-use centres for help.
Keith Wakefield, the leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“This is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. Councils took on this important work in good faith and have worked hard to develop schemes that provide real support when people need it most. The government has decided to scrap this extra funding and that means that the full cost of supporting people in need falls on this council at a time when we are faced with the biggest cuts we have ever had to manage. No matter how it is dressed this up, the reality is that the poorest have been hit hardest again”
For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713