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Burntwood councillor warns against decision to axe hardship fund

A Burntwood councillor has warned people could be forced to turn to loan sharks if the closure of a hardship fund goes ahead.

Labour county councillor Sue Woodward has also questioned why only a small fraction of the Local Crisis Support Scheme fund has been spent in Staffordshire.

Cllr Sue Woodward

Cllr Sue Woodward

“Given the levels of hardship currently being experienced by individuals and families on low incomes, especially at this time of year, I am sure that many will share my dismay that only 2.5 per cent of the fund has been passed on to help people in desperate need,” she said.

“Staffordshire County Council was allocated £1.4million last April when the Government scrapped the Social Fund but had only spent £35,000 by the end of 2013.

“Now, however, we learn that the Government is going to scrap this emergency fund altogether in 15 months’ time which will only serve to increase the numbers of people who have to resort to loan sharks or excessive-interest credit or turn to local charities, including food banks, for support.

“Surely it cannot be that the Government wanted local schemes to fail in order to justify a further cut hurting those least able to cope?”

Cllr Woodward has also commended local residents for their efforts to help others in times of need.

She explained: “In contrast to the cold-heartedness of Government and the County Council towards those hardest hit by their austerity measures, thank goodness that there are generous people across the county – and the country – who donate to food banks and give their time freely to run support services or credit unions, such as Fusion.

“The Staffordshire Crisis Support Scheme was not well-publicised and, in my view, the criteria for receiving assistance were set far too high but if you or someone you know are in need call 0300 111 8008, while the scheme still operates.”

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

6 Comments

  1. Cynic

    6th January, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    If people are unable to control their income/expenditure – the last thing we should be doing is give them more money to waste.

    Take all their money off them. Cancel all the luxury items Tv/Phone(s) etc.
    Get a volunteer (neighbour/friend/relative) to show them how to live with in their means .

  2. Rob

    6th January, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    If only 2.5% of the fund has been spent maybe “levels of hardship” are not quite so desperate as claimed – even at this time of year.
    A strange logic that’s dismayed that not enough public money is being thrown away.

  3. Cynic

    6th January, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    “A strange logic that’s dismayed that not enough public money is being thrown away.” Strange? for Labour councillor? is their motto not “If in doubt throw money at it?”

  4. Cynic

    7th January, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Four red marks – come on you people there must be more that four labour voters in the area!

  5. Darryl

    8th January, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    You don’t have to be a Labour voter to see the need of a woman and children rescued from a violent household, who needs all the help she can get.

    @Rob

    The point the councillor is making is if the money isn’t used, the government will use that as an excuse to take it away.

    The selfishness of some people towards a microscopic cost to public finances is saddening.

  6. Cynic

    8th January, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    “Darryl” – I don’t recall saying the needy should not be helped!

    If some one can not balance their books they need to be shown how to live within their means. The other way is some one saying I want I want and being given a short time relief. Then the cycle will start all over again. With your hypothetical case – I did not see you suggest the MEN in her life should be made to contribute!

    “a microscopic cost to public finances ” perhaps you have not heard the saying -“Look after the pennies etc” That’s exactly why so many do not know how to live within budget.