£230k less to give to the most needy

RAIDING THE BANK: The government is cutting funds for the most needy.

RAIDING THE BANK: The government is cutting funds for the most needy.

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GOVERNMENT cash to help vulnerable people in our district has been cut by £230,000 just as Kirklees Council takes responsiblity for handing it out.

The government has spent an average of £1.35m per year in Kirklees since 2010 to help families on the breadline and those who need help to maintain their independence.

But Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans, currently managed by the Department for Work and Pensions, will be axed in April.

And the council will only get £1.12m in 2013/14 for a local scheme to replace those grants.

Deputy leader Coun David Sheard said: “I am disappointed that the government has reduced the amount of cash available to 90 per cent of what they had last year. I fear that given other changes taking place, especially to benefits, will increase the demand for this type of payment, rather than reducing it.”

On Wednesday, Cabinet members will look at how to identify the families most in need and give them the most appropriate help through voluntary, private and public sector services.

Coun Sheard (Lab, Heckmondwike) said: “This is an essential service that many of the most vulnerable depend upon at times. Delivering this scheme locally provides a real opportunity for us to provide a more responsive service.”

“Our support package will be enhanced with local programmes that provide complementary avenues of support, ensuring many families receive the help they need.”

The new scheme will use vouchers for goods and services like furniture recycling schemes instead of cash.