Council agree pilot scheme to help those suffering financial hardship

New pilot scheme will come into force after the Social Fund is abolished next year

A delegated decision by Isle of Wight council leader, David Pugh, to help those suffering financial hardship was passed last week.

The record of delegated decision (embedded below) sets out plans for what the council describe as “an appropriate and responsive programme of Local Assistance provision to Island residents who are in genuine hardship (which cannot be met through other means), enabling them to access the support that they need, financial or otherwise, quickly and effectively”.

Abolition of the Social Fund
The scheme is in response to the Social Fund being scrapped by the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) from 31 March next year.

The abolition includes discretionary elements such as Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans for general living expenses. As part of the abolition process DWP will be transferring funding to local authorities to use as they see fit to meet local needs, delivered through a Local Assistance Scheme, from 1 April 2013.

Local Assistance Scheme
Cllr Pugh approved,

i. THAT a Pilot Local Assistance Scheme be implemented for 2013/14 and administered by the Council’s Benefits Service.
ii. THAT this be operated in accordance with the draft scheme set out in Appendix 1 to this report.
iii. THAT the Pilot be used to develop a longer-term Local Assistance Scheme to be commissioned and operated externally from 1 April 2014.
iv. THAT a consultation exercise is undertaken with relevant organisations, referral agencies and key stakeholders such as CAB, Credit Unions, Food Banks and any other stakeholder with financial inclusion or related interests and through them their users.
v. THAT the Director of Resources (in consultation with the Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Resources) considers the responses to the consultation exercise and the Equality Impact Assessment and then make recommendations to Cabinet for the implementation of the Pilot Scheme.

Image: fsecart under CC BY 2.0

Monday, 10th December, 2012 10:43am



Filed under: Government, Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.


  1. prewitt parrot

    10.Dec.2012 11:14am

    These are actually potential life and death decisions – hardly appropriate to allow the Isle of Wight Council to take this responsibility given their inability to organise an inebriation demonstration in a brewery.

  2. I notice that its a PILOT SCHEME. Does that mean AFTER two weeks PUGH will turn round and say HE doesn’t like the scheme and scrap it and NOT replace it with somethink else.

  3. This consultation will be at the busiest, least likely to be attended & most stressful time of the year in the UK – between now & January 11th. What a pity this didn’t get going earlier after final Assent in March.

    I would like to know how they will select from candidates applying, who will need to show they have deep understanding of poverty, & not recycle stereotypes. The job is too important to mess up.

  4. tryme’s right – this is too important to mess up. And prewitt parrot is right – these may be life and death decisions.
    So for once well done David Pugh for making this decision – as long as it doesn’t get closed down almost as soon as it starts.

    What’s disturbing is that the national government has washed its hands of responsibility for this.
    A decent civilised society does not have this huge difference between rich and poor, and a decent civilised society makes sure that everybody has a decent life and does not have to worry about basic needs such as housing, food and warmth.
    We need to make sure that the next government we have will make our society fairer and reduce the gap between the income of the poorest people and the cost of basic things. We need a higher minimum wage and much much lower rents.

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