Rotherham MP asks Government to rethink scrapping of emergency welfare fund


The scrapping of a Government fund used by councils to provide emergency support to families, will make it increasingly difficult to help people in desperate situations, warns local MP Sarah Champion. News that the Local Welfare Assistance Fund (LWA Fund) will not be renewed in 2015 has caused the South Yorkshire MP to write to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Local Communities and Government, to voice her growing concerns for vulnerable people in Rotherham who could be left in crisis.

Sarah said: Some of my constituents have expressed concern that the withdrawal of the funding by Government may leave Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council unable to support families in crisis.

Whilst the fund has not yet completed a full year of operation, initial findings show that it is making a real difference, especially in the areas of benefits delays; sanctions; and newly unemployed people.

The fund has also been effective with respect to emergency food provision for people facing food poverty.

Having seen such success with the way the council has implemented the LWA fund in Rotherham, I hope the Minister will share my concern for vulnerable residents who will be worse off as a result of the fund ceasing. I would like to urge the Government to rethink its decision to scrap this fund, and to work with councils to review it while keeping an open mind about its future.

NewsVanessa Johns