The Local Welfare Support Scheme is an important lifeline provided by the Council.
This is a scheme designed to help the most vulnerable people in Leeds
– people under exceptional pressure; homeless people or rough sleepers ; vulnerable older people ; people fleeing domestic violence; young people leaving care ;people moving out of institutional or residential care into the community; ex-offenders leaving prison or detention centres ;people with disabilities
In order to qualify, applicants must also be on a low income and have no access to sufficient funds (including savings) to meet their immediate needs.
Apart from exceptional cases – disasters like fire or flood – the people who qualify for this scheme must be entitled to things like Income support, or pension credit or housing benefit.
In other words this is a scheme to help the most needy people in our city.
Over 7800 awards have been made in Leeds – and they have provided things like food baskets, store cards for emergency food and removal costs for victims of domestic abuse.
The scheme has also helped the Council to fund targeted advice initiatives to help these groups, and to fund the Council’s high cost lending campaign.
You know what’s coming next, don’t you?
Yes – you guessed right – the Coalition is taking the fuinding away.
Leeds City Council has been advised that the Government intends to remove funding for this service from 2015/16.
This will mean a loss of £2.85 million for funding in Leeds – money which is used to help the most vulnerable people in the City.
Leeds Labour Council is doing everything in its power to maintain this lifeline for the poorest of our fellow citizens.
They have agreed to continue providing this support in 2014/15, in spite of the Coalition’s cuts.
Council officers have been instructed to provide options for emergency funding in 2015/16 in spite of central government’s decision.
Councillor Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council said:
‘We have made sure we use this funding to help people who most clearly need assistance.
These central government changes will no doubt lead to further pressure on food banks, more demands on already stretched charities and greater hardship amongst the most vulnerable people in society. Authorities such as Leeds will continue to do what we can to help people, but this is inevitably within the context of further central government cuts to our budgets.’
Councillor Wakefield has called ‘on central government to reverse this decision.’
We are not holding our breath.
In the face of draconian cuts to local government finance, Leeds Labour Council has made the vulnerable and elderly one of its key priorities.
There is, however, apparently no limit to the mean-minded cuts this LibDem/Tory Coalition is prepared to make.
Britain Can Do Better Than This.
It could scarcely do worse.
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