Government cuts mean double blow for Islington

The Government has announced cuts to council grants for two important "safety nets" that help support Islington's residents in need.

From April, it will cut Islington's allocation for discretionary housing payments (DHP) by more than 25 per cent.  DHP is used by councils, especially in London, to help residents in need meet spiralling housing costs.

Yesterday the Government also confirmed that Islington's Local Welfare Fund allocation will be cut from £1.44m to £557,000 from April. 

Local Welfare funding helps pay for Islington's Resident Support Scheme, which supports some of Islington's most vulnerable people with small grants for essential items like beds and fridges.

Originally the Government had planned to axe the Local Welfare Fund completely across the country.  

After a long campaign from Islington Council, charities and other local authorities it has now agreed to keep some Local Welfare funding, but £100m is still being lost nationally, including £883,000 in Islington.

Cllr Andy Hull, Islington Council's executive member for finance, said:  "This is a double whammy of Government cuts to two funds which Islington residents in real need rely on.

"The cut to Discretionary Housing Payments means that there is less money to help local people who are struggling to stay in Islington because of soaring housing costs combined with government benefit cuts.

"And I'm pleased that our campaign has helped save some Local Welfare funding, but more than half of it is still being cut.

"When added to the Government's cut to Islington's core funding, which pays for vital public services throughout the borough, this double blow just puts extra pressure on the council's already badly stretched budget for the coming years."

Examples of people who have been helped by Islington's Resident Support Scheme include the following cases (names have been changed):

  • When their mother left, teenagers Fabian and Jordan were rehoused with their father in new, unfurnished accommodation.  Money from the Resident Support Scheme provided beds, a cooker and a table and chairs to allow the boys to keep studying and live at home. 
  • Anna escaped domestic abuse from her husband and his family and sought help at a refuge, and she and her young child were found a new home in an unfurnished flat.  The Resident Support Scheme paid for a bed and sofa, and helped Anna find a job and get money advice, so she could rebuild her life.

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