Fund is to be reformed. In February 2011 the Government published the Welfare
Reform Bill. As well as significant changes to welfare benefits for people of
working age, including the introduction of Universal Credit, the Bill includes
proposed changes to the discretionary Social Fund. In particular:
Grants, Crisis Loans and Budgeting Loans will be abolished.
Grants, and Crisis Loans (for items) will be replaced by a new localised
service. In England this service will be delivered by Local Authorities. The
arrangements for Scotland and Wales will be determined by the respective
Loans (for living expenses) and Budgeting Loans will be replaced with new
payments on account. The Budgeting Loan replacement will be an advance of
benefit available via Universal Credit and Pension Credit.
The role of the
Social Fund Commissioner will be abolished and as a result there will not be an
independent review process.
Reform Bill has passed its second reading and is currently with the Welfare
Reform Bill Committee for scrutiny. In March 2011 the Committee took oral
evidence from a range of individuals and organisations.
The DWP issued a call for evidence called Local
support to replace Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans for living
expenses to invite views on how the new service might be delivered in
England. Responses to this particular paper were required by 15th
The Social Fund
Commissioner has provided his responses. These are available to read