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Lambeth warns cuts to welfare could end up costing more

Lambeth Council says government plans to end Local Welfare Assistance schemes are unfair, unworkable and likely to create significant problems.

In a letter prefacing the council’s formal submission to the Department for Work and Pensions, Cllr Paul McGlone, Deputy council leader, said: “The likely increase in food and fuel poverty, homelessness, re-offending, debt, illness and severe anxiety for local residents, means that the reform could end up costing more to the public purse.”

From March next year, the government wants local councils to fund the schemes that provide essential household goods and food to people in desperate need. Lambeth is already facing a 50 per cent cut to its funding from central government and says it simply hasn’t the resources to meet the demand for emergency assistance.

Cllr McGlone said: “It is absurd for the government to support local intervention and prevention and then take away funding. This will affect the most vulnerable and desperate people in our community and is a short sighted economy that will cause misery for many and cost taxpayers far more in the long run.”

The government is expected to announce a final decision in the next few weeks following consultation with local councils.

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