Herefordshire Council keeps £300k of poverty and welfare funding unlabelled in its adult social care budget

First published in News
Last updated
Ledbury Reporter: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

HEREFORDSHIRE Council is keeping just under £300k of specified welfare assistance funding unlabelled in its adult social care budget for the coming year.

The council says it wants the cash to help welfare initiatives rather than the crisis loans it was intended for under the local welfare provision scheme run by councils across the country.

This week, the council was criticised for spending less than £5,000 of its annual £377,000 allocation by the end of December last year - equivalent to 1% of its local welfare budget.

Today (Friday) Helen Coombes, director for Adult Wellbeing, confirmed that the remaining sum was in the 2014-15 adult social care budget unlabelled.

The intention, she said, was to have the money on hand for specific welfare support initiatives rather than individual loans.

Support initiatives currently active in the county, from food banks to Citizen’s Advice say they are inundated with assistance requests on a weekly – even daily – basis.

Recently, the Hereford Times reported that nearly 900 people had called on the Hereford food bank alone between January and March this year – a figure reflected in 470 referrals up from 176 over the same period last year.

The local welfare provision scheme is run by local authorities.  Previously support was available through the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) community care grant and crisis loans system.   

The DWP system worked on the basis of cash loans which had to be paid back.

In a statement, Herefordshire Council confirmed its approach as preventing people in crisis from adding to spiralling debts and helping them to other support available.

Any awards made will normally be in goods, services or vouchers. 

The statement said: “Every single application for assistance is considered carefully to make sure that support is put in place to meet urgent needs.  As a result of this successful approach, the council has spent a relatively small amount of the cash it has available for local welfare provision.” 

The council’s annual allocation for local welfare provision is just over £306,000. 

To date, £7,300 of this has been spent – about 2%.

There are two types of assistance, an exceptional circumstances award (ECA) and a community care award (CCA).

ECA covers the cost of essential items, providing temporary help to prevent risk to health, well-being or safety, or to ease financial worry.

CCA is for help setting up a home after being in care, after being homeless, or  having to move due to specific circumstances including violence or fear of violence.

There is also provision to help those facing circumstances where it is difficult to stay home.

Comments (3)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

4:06pm Fri 25 Apr 14

Paul2422 says...

What are these Welfare Support Schemes that Herefordshire Council talk about to justify spending so little of the government money given to them for people in hardship?

In my view the Shopping Centre seems a top priority for this Council and so many others.
Says it all really in my opinion.
What are these Welfare Support Schemes that Herefordshire Council talk about to justify spending so little of the government money given to them for people in hardship? In my view the Shopping Centre seems a top priority for this Council and so many others. Says it all really in my opinion. Paul2422
  • Score: 20

4:40pm Fri 25 Apr 14

silentbull2 says...

Old news,
They was a long discussion about this money for each county on' radio 5 live' early last year., and it was reported that there was two counties that was refusing to spend the money
In fact, a local councillor came on air and said that "the County of Herefordshire doesn't need it so the money will be moved to another area which does need it"
I can't remember the councillors name as I was shouting/swearing at the radio at the time!!!!
Old news, They was a long discussion about this money for each county on' radio 5 live' early last year., and it was reported that there was two counties that was refusing to spend the money In fact, a local councillor came on air and said that "the County of Herefordshire doesn't need it so the money will be moved to another area which does need it" I can't remember the councillors name as I was shouting/swearing at the radio at the time!!!! silentbull2
  • Score: 13

5:58pm Fri 25 Apr 14

BadgerMash says...

The (publicly) unspoken policy of many rural local authorities is that if you starve the local poor for long enough, and make sure there is absolutely no truly affordable rented housing, then they will either be forced to leave the area or find their way into prison, thus ceasing to be an inconvenience to the wealthy retired incomers and those who want to pimp the place to tourists.
The (publicly) unspoken policy of many rural local authorities is that if you starve the local poor for long enough, and make sure there is absolutely no truly affordable rented housing, then they will either be forced to leave the area or find their way into prison, thus ceasing to be an inconvenience to the wealthy retired incomers and those who want to pimp the place to tourists. BadgerMash
  • Score: 15

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree