Local Welfare Assistance: How much are people worth?

Imagine for a minute that you’re 74 years old, and you’ve fled your abusive partner after decades of cruelty. Now imagine, finding a flat but having no money for a mattress, a bed, and no cooker or pans.

Sadly, Shelter has helped someone who didn’t have to imagine. For her, starting again was so hard that at one point she nearly went back to her husband.

Through local welfare this woman was given £900 for basic items which helped her … Read more

‘Jam Tomorrow’ – Legal Aid Savings & the NAO Report

Back in 2011, the Government drastically reduced legal aid under the LASPO Act to try and save £350 million by taking a whole range of issues eligible for legal advice and representation out of scope.

For housing, this took an estimated 38,000 cases outside of legal help (advice) – no less than 36% of all cases eligible for housing legal help – not to mention reducing legal representation by 22%.[1] This now means that unless you are actually homeless, … Read more

Rebuilding Lives: Local Welfare and the people it helps

The Government will soon make a decision which will impact the lives of thousands of people across the country: they will decide what the future funding of Local Welfare Assistance Schemes will look like. 

Local welfare funding makes a real difference. By helping people on low incomes cope with unexpected costs and providing basic household goods, it can rebuild lives, support tenancies and get people back on their feet.

Quite simply, more people will be at risk of becoming, or … Read more

Local Welfare Assistance Funding: Now you see it, now you don’t

Last week, the Government opened its new consultation on the funding for Local Welfare Assistance Schemes (LWAS). Admittedly, that doesn’t sound very exciting.

But don’t be fooled – because local welfare schemes are at risk, so the outcome of this consultation could become incredibly important to people in need.

In another life, LWAS was the Social Fund. Both have provided one-off assistance to people who fall on hard times. So when your fridge breaks, and you can barely keep up … Read more

In from the cold; bringing housing benefit advice back in scope

At Shelter we know better than anyone the value of expert housing advice, which frequently makes the difference between keeping a home and homelessness. Legal aid has long been a key source of funding for expert housing advice – including many of the services Shelter provides. But this funding was decimated by the now infamous Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO). Shelter campaigned tooth and nail against LASPO. Sadly, its impacts have been nothing short of … Read more

Party Conferences: Half Way House

Amid the blur of fringe events, policy motions, twitter-tattle, and media sound bites, it was easy to get distracted during this year’s party conferences. Some key questions emerged: like, what pyjama patterns should we expect from our public figures? Can a speech have a deficit deficit? And is Lib Denim really a vote winner?

But let’s step back from the noise of conference season and look at what the myriad of announcements might tell us.

Labour’s conference did not see … Read more