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Authority left in a real mess says councillor
10:30am Friday 15th March 2013 in News
A SENIOR councillor has criticised the government for slashing the social fund.
The Department for Work and Pensions runs the fund but critics have labelled it chaotic, so the DWP is making local authorities such as Bury Council run it as of April 1 — but with less money than the council thinks is required.
Cllr Tony Isherwood, above, the council’s finance representative, said: “It is extremely frustrating for us. It is a frightening situation.
“They have created a real mess and we are the ones dealing with it.
“Some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the borough will suffer as a direct result of this and I wouldn’t be surprised if people are made homeless because of the raft of measures coming into effect.”
Cllr Isherwood added: “We are facing some tough decisions but we will have to manage the fund as best as possible.
“We will lobby Westminster for a higher sum next year, but they won’t listen and they won’t care.”
A DWP spokesman said: “We’re reforming the social fund because it is complex, over-centralised and poorly targeted, and replacing it with local provision to ensure this money goes to those most in need.
“We will transfer the current annual funding for crisis loans and community care grants to local authorities and the devolved administrations.
“They will receive the full programme budget of £178.2 million per year in addition to administration and start-up costs of more than £72 million which represents a fair settlement.”