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Thursday, 02 October 2014

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Grant cuts blow for vulnerable Barrow residents

THE most vulnerable people in Barrow are set to lose grants which help them in times of crisis.

Some 1,070 applications, 810 of which were successful, were made by people in Barrow for crisis loans between April and September 2011.

However the government is scrapping the loans in April, and organisations like Barrow Foodbank are set to feel the strain as Cumbria County Council looks for ways to offer the needy support in times of crisis.

Community care grants, of which 180 applications out of 410 in Barrow were successful, will also be axed. The grants are used for emergency accommodation to the homeless, people leaving prison, or those caring for someone or facing family breakdown.

A presentation on responding to welfare reform was given by the council’s assistant director for policy and performance Dawn Roberts at a meeting of the local committee for Barrow yesterday.

She told the meeting that the scrapping of the loans would not be phased and the council would need to prepare ways to signpost those who were in need of urgent support to agencies that can help them such as the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and the foodbank.

She said: “A lot of the welfare changes are phased in, like the transfer to universal credit that will be for claimants first then it will be phased in.

“But for the crisis loans and community care grants they will cease at the end of March. What we have been keen to do is work with the Department for Work and Pensions to be very clear about the changes and where support can be found.”

Thousands of pounds are handed out in crisis grants in the borough every year, with an average figure of £57.28.

Margaret Burrow MBE, honorary president of the Barrow and District Disability Association, said the crisis loan and grant cuts would mean more work for third sector organisations.She said: “I’m absolutely sure it will mean more work for us.

“It is very concerning, because there are more and more cuts being made, especially ones that will affect disabled people.”

Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock said: “This week, the Tory-led government chose to push ahead with their strivers’ tax, which will see at least 6,700 working families in Barrow and Furness left worse off through cuts to tax credits, while cutting tax for those earning over £150,000.

“On top of that they are removing emergency help for people who fall on hard times potentially leaving vulnerable families at the mercy of legal loan sharks.

“In these circumstances, it is all the more important that we have the Furness Poverty Commission which I set up shine a light on hidden deprivation in Barrow and Furness.”

Councillors agreed to form a working group to help organisations work together to tackle the effects of welfare reform.

Have your say

Once again we are all bearing witness to yet another pernicious attack on vulnerable people with these Tory/Lib Dem cutback policies.
All these attacks are going to make poor people poorer & a lot of 'em don't know where the next meal is going to come from or how on earth are they going to pay for their rent, gas, electricity & telephone bills as they are dear enough as they are now.
It is going to open the door for vicious loan sharks-legal or not-to prey on these vulnerable people with disasterous consequences-for crying out loud people need to live-not starve to death-yes that is what is happening now!!!!
Should us workers & the poor tollerate this governments policy???? NO!
What I am in favour of is a large increase in benefits for all benefit claimants so they can live comfortably as I can not see a problem with that.

Posted by Charlie on 3 March 2013 at 19:54

It's the same left wing story "Rob Peter to feed Paul"
labour are hypocrites who all deep down want what the hard working
Tories have! Everyone is working class not just The Labour voter's.

Posted by John Solomon Fisher on 14 January 2013 at 22:02

View all 7 comments on this article

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