4 Feb 2015

Responding to the Government’s decision to provide an additional £74m for local welfare provision, which councils use to help vulnerable families in crisis, Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said:

'This extra funding will make sure that local authorities can continue to provide crucial relief for families who were on the verge of losing their last line of defence. As The Children’s Society has argued for many months, scrapping funding for local welfare provision - which was the Government’s original plan - would have cut an essential lifeline to families in crisis. The big winners from this announcement will be the hundreds of thousands of children living in poverty who will now be given a better chance of a fair start in life.

'At a time of increasing child poverty, high levels of problem debt, and cuts to support for families, it is more important than ever that dedicated funding is available to help get struggling families back on their feet and provide an  emergency lifeline to prevent them from spiralling into debt and outright destitution.'

The Government has made it clear that it expects £129m to be spent on local welfare schemes in 2015-16. This extra £74m of funding will enable councils to deliver just that. We will continue to campaign locally to make sure that effective local welfare assistance schemes are available in every area of the country.

It is crucial that councils now keep in place local schemes and make sure they are easy to access, open to all families who face an emergency and are advertised properly so those who need them know about them.

Nearly 1,000 supporters of The Children’s Society responded to the Government’s consultation, calling for this important safety net to be protected, playing a crucial role in persuading ministers to fund this vital service.

The Children’s Society will continue to push for longer-term commitments to make sure that families in emergency situations can be given the help they need when they need it most.

Notes to Editor

- The Government’s decision was announced on Tuesday 3 February as part of the local government finance settlement for 2015/16: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-vote-office/February%202015/3rd%20February/1.DCLG-Local-govt-finance.pdf
- For details of The Children’s Society’s campaign, A Cut Too Far: Save the emergency safety net for children, go to: www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-you-can-do/campaign-change/local-welfare
- Examples of families supported by local welfare provision available here:
- The Children’s Society has helped change children’s stories for over a century. We expose injustice and address hard truths, tackling child poverty and neglect head-on. We fight for change based on the experiences of every child we work with and the solid evidence we gather. Through our campaigning, commitment and care, we are determined to give every child in this country the greatest possible chance in life.

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