Government Cuts Are Causing Real Hardship for Those Who Need Loans in a Crisis

May 16, 2012 by  Filed under: Loans 

Evidence suggests that the government’s changes to the social fund since April are causing more people to suffer hardship.

Since April 2012 the Coalition Government have made wide reaching changes to the way that the Social Fund is administered, in effect limiting access to the discretionary Social fund for those who find themselves in Crisis and without any other means to support themselves.

Changes brought in, including limiting the number of applications to just 3 in a rolling 12 months period, and capping loan amounts to just 60% of benefit entitlements are leaving thousands without anywhere to turn. Evidence that we have collected shows a 400% increase in the number of people being turned away and seeking advice on any other help that is available, the increased number of visitors that we see suggests that the worst hit areas are London and Manchester.

In March 2012 our voluntary advice service, that is manned by a coalition of volunteers who have worked for the CAB and Welfare rights dealing with Social Fund queries saw 400% less traffic than in the month of April 2012 indicating that people are searching online for help as a consequence of the changes.

One of the more disturbing casualties of the cutbacks was highlighted when Jane, who came to the site after being turned down for a loan to get her through the weekend, sent us a desperate email having being told that she would have to check if the local supermarket was throwing anything away to feed herself and her 2 year old daughter when her benefits were incorrectly slashed to just £7 per week.

She said that she could not believe the way the she was treated, and that the fact that she had been awarded 3 crisis loans due to unrelated circumstances would not help to feed her daughter over the weekend. After signposting her to a locally based charity she was able to secure a food parcel, but said ‘I have paid into the system for 19 years, and in my hour of need feel totally let down.’

This type of email is becoming more and more common as the changes start to effect those that have already made applications for a Social Fund Crisis loan since the changes took effect in April, and we cant help but think that the coalition Government are simply focusing on numbers rather then people and the hardship that the cuts are causing on ordinary families across the UK.

Written By Adam S Laugton, previous Social Fund decision maker who is now working with voluntary organisations to help those who apply for Government assistance find the information that then need to make an application. Check out our site for free advice relating to getting a Crisis Loan

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