Local welfare assistance (LWS) is the social safety net for Britain’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens, intended to provide them with vital support when they face a short-term emergency or cash crisis.
Introduced in April 2013, it replaced the social fund, the centrally-administered scheme abolished under the 2012 Welfare Reform Act.
But in response to a freedom of information request, it has been revealed that Thurrock Council has only 39% of the budget given to them.
Thurrock Council was given £368.757.00. They have given assistance to 610 individuals but this still leaves £254,841 not spent.
Thurrock Council did publish a press release regarding the fund in January, 2013 but since then YT cannot trace any publicity signposting members of the public to the scheme.
A Thurrock Council spokesperson said: “The Government abolished Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans on 31 March 2013 and encouraged councils not to follow the same regime as the DWP had for many years.
“Thurrock received £368,757 for 2013/14. At the end of the financial year it had committed £154,000 of that budget with the balance being carried forward into this financial year.
Councils in Essex agreed and adopted a scheme which is run by Southend Council on our behalf.
“It is a non-cash scheme, where we provide quality re-used furniture through TRUP and we also provide and install white goods as well as issuing supermarket food vouchers and pre-paid cards to assist with emergency fuel top –ups.
“This assistance is not to replace other sources of grant or awards. The scheme also provides assistance to TRUP and reduces our costs as well as ensuring perfectly good furniture is re-used.
“The government has not committed any further funding post 2015”.
Full details of the scheme can be found here