Government u-turn on scrapping £180m welfare hardship fund

This week the government has promised to reconsider its controversial decision to axe the local welfare assistance grant, worth £180 million a year. The u-turn comes following the lodging of a judicial review challenge to the decision brought by Christian Jump, a disabled Cheshire resident.  Mr Jump was represented by Ben Chataway and Martin Westgate QC of Doughty Street Chambers, instructed by Emma Burgess of Public Law Solicitors. The Secretary of State has now agreed in a Consent Order to revisit the decision and is not contesting Mr Jump’s claim for judicial review.

 

The local welfare assistance fund was introduced last year as a replacement for the Social Fund.  However, earlier this year it emerged that Ministers had decided to abolish separate grant funding from April 2015.  This change was heavily criticised by campaigners who argued that it would seriously damage local authorities’ abilities to support residents facing hardship, such as disabled people, women fleeing domestic violence, and families suffering poor health or financial crisis as a result of flooding or natural disasters.  The Consent Order has been welcomed by campaign groups, including Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) who intervened in the case.

 

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