Thousand of people could be made homeless if government funding for local welfare schemes is removed, warns the Local Government Association (LGA).

New research from the LGA reveals that local welfare assistance schemes have helped a staggering 94,000 people at risk of becoming or remaining homeless.

Councils say the Government’s £172 million annual funding for these schemes provides ‘vital support’ to families at risk of losing their homes. Removal of the funding would mean crucial support may no longer be available to tens of thousands of people.

Over a quarter of local welfare spending was used to help people facing potential homelessness in 2013/14.

If councils are forced to reduce the amount they spend on local welfare schemes, due to Government funding cuts, an estimated 50,000 people would be at increased risk of life on the streets.

The Government’s decision to end funding for local welfare ‘safety net’ schemes in April would be an ‘expensive mistake’ and cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds, warns the LGA.

LGA analysis shows that for every £1 spent on local welfare, more than £2 is saved by helping people avoid becoming homeless. According to the LGA, providing accommodation to those at increased risk of homelessness would cost taxpayers an additional £380 million per year.

Local welfare schemes were introduced in 2013 to replace crisis loans and community care grants. The LGA says the schemes have offered a helping hand to hundreds of thousands of people facing crisis or entering a time of transition. This includes people at risk of becoming homeless, providing food to struggling families and helping care leavers find accommodation for the very first time.

Crisis support and community grants have been funded by central Government since 1987. The final decision of whether or not to scrap funding in 2015/16 will be made by Government ministers next month.

Council leaders and charities are urging the Government to reconsider the decision to terminate funding for local welfare assistance schemes.

Local authorities have already seen their overall funding slashed by 40% since 2010 and argue they would unable subsidise local welfare support.

Cllr David Sparks, Chair of the LGA, said: “Local welfare funding has been used by councils to provide crucial support to people facing personal crises in their lives and prevent problems from escalating.

“This money has helped keep a roof over the heads of thousands of people facing the threat of losing their homes. In doing so it has also saved the public purse many millions more which would have to have been spent finding new homes for people who lose their own.

“Government’s decision to withdraw this funding is an expensive mistake which will not only lead to a reduction in support for those who need it most, it will also cost taxpayers millions more in the long run.

“Local safety net schemes have been funded by government for almost 30 years. At a time when councils are tackling the biggest cuts in living memory, many local areas simply cannot afford to keep these schemes going if government withdraws the funding.

“Government should not renege from its responsibility to those in most need. It needs to review this decision and fully fund local welfare.”

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of the housing charity Crisis, said:

“For people facing or trying to escape homelessness, Local Welfare Assistance can be the final safety net – a small amount of money that makes a huge difference at a time of crisis.

“Today’s report clearly shows the damage that will be done if this funding is cut. On top of the human cost of homelessness, it makes absolutely no economic sense.

“Homelessness shatters lives and it is hugely expensive for the state to pick up the pieces. We stand alongside the LGA and others in urging the Government to rethink its decision to cut this vital lifeline.”


  1. The projected outcome is obvious. Maybe the fat cats can give them a bed in their numerous unoccupied bedrooms?

  2. The Homeless have a weapon. One the government doesn’t want them to think of and use against it.
    If the Homeless elected to turn to crime and allow themselves to be caught. they would face Remand time and maybe a prison stretch. Some people might think its harsh but it isn’t. if the Homeless elected to go to Prison the bill for homelessness would increase ten fold.
    The Homeless person would then have a warm place to sleep and also food and access to warm showers.compared to the streets in winter Prison is far better option then rough sleeping.

    • You’d also have a criminal record which in Chris Grayling’s new DBS/CRB for every job world, and £1,200 charge to pursue Legal Aid if an unfair decision has been passed to you. Good luck navigating through later life with that.

      • Many people with criminal records go on to have fantastic lives. just because you cannot pass a crb check doesn’t mean it has to hold you back.
        I’ve had a criminal record all my adult life and it has not stopped me owning my own home or having a life time of employment.
        The only thing to hold a person back is themselves. Someone once told me i would not earn enough to pay for a home of my own. I am 51 and own it out right. Yet i started my working life on a YTS scheme and today i help run the family firm we created from earnings from running a burger van and a window cleaning round.
        If you start small and do not aim to get rich in 12 months and work hard you can achieve most things in life. I started out on my own with £1000 saved from jobs i hated but did to get the starting capital. Young people can still make it today. all they need to do is not dream so high so early on.

        • “crb check doesn’t mean it has to hold you back.”

          Tell that to Chris Grayling, Michael Gove and employers, maybe you need to ask yourself why you need a CRB for a cleaning job? Not in a school or old people’s home etc. Just because.

          I’ve had one since my 20s, for defending my ex- partner and her 4 year old daughter from a violent jealous bloke who attacked them on my own doorstep for 20 quid owed to him by them – caution. (he was a drug dealing police informer, so he got off scot free of course) and a fine for allegedly smacking a copper – I didn’t was fitted up, because even the magistrate stated the story from them sounded incredulous, but issued it anyway.

          “The only thing to hold a person back is themselves. ”

          I suggest you have a look at what Chris Grayling is doing to the new DBS service -unless you’re an employer and already know that, being disingenuous Mr 51 year old – your peers have reset the rules for those younger or without the money to defend themselves against the bullshit.
          I have no desire to be an entreprecapitalist. Don’t have the lobes for it as a Ferengi would say, I don’t come from any sort of background that would enable to set this capital aside, your YTS schemes from the 80s were rubbish then for the vast majority and they’re non-existent now. If you are much older than someone eligible for a YTS?

          You Conservatives bang on about ‘Young people’ in every default sentence when presented with evidence that a person MUCH OLDER than 21 has been affected by their policies, completely ignoring what’s put to you. Perhaps start with my 1st post – address the ways THAT holds people back, regardless of skill, experience, qualifications or number of years worked or any of the irrelevant BS you said which worked for a very small few in the 1980s.

          Where are the schemes for people, never mind YOUNG people? Or do you think sending graduates with 20 years work experience on basic literacy courses is so they can qualify for a Workfare programme, benefitting the private companies involved twice and no benefit whatsoever for the jobseeker.

          Get out of your Ivory Tower.

          • Griffiblaze I left school 1980. i agree the YTS has Gone but the courses served me well later in life. as i learned practical skills many i still use today. As for the current workfare it is totally set up the wrong way. it doesn’t give skills for life it puts profits in company bank accounts due to not having to pay a wage at all for a shelf stacker ( formerly unskilled work) As for basic literacy courses they should only be used when people cannot read or write. not for grad schools but i suspect all are sent so the Private sector company running the scheme gets paid a lot more to make it worth while for them to set up first place. In the same way Atos was paid for failing disability claimants and saying they were fit for work when the medical evidence presented said they were not. and why so many have been over turned on appeal which has sent the bill for welfare even higher.

            When i left school i did anything to not be on welfare. my intention was to earn and save so i could get a head myself as my own boss. i do not live in a ivory tower and i do not class myself as lucky or silver spooned. i worked hard to get where i am today. i worked hard to get the start up capital i worked hard once i got it to further myself and family. it was 22 years after leaving school before i took my first holiday outside of the UK. life becomes yours at 16 years of age the path you choose is of your own making from then on. and every one has it in them to go forward. yes people stumble and from time to time think what is the point. but the trick is to make your life expectations as simple as possible until you achieve where you want to be.

            take a piece of paper.
            on it write , Who am I. Where would i like to be in five years, How am i going to get there.

            then write about yourself in that order. Be truthful its only you reading it after the five years have been completed.
            Do not aim to be a millionaire. do not aim to have £100,000 in the bank and own your own home outright unless you have the skills to be able to do it. in that time period.
            The who am I, is about you the person today.
            Where you want to be in five years is simple enough.
            How am i going to get there, Is about the skills and lack of skills to achieve where you want to be in five year and also the amount of start up money needed to achieve the aim if you wish to be working for yourself.
            In five years you can read it see if you have achieved you aim and then write another one and start again aiming higher then the last time of you have achieved it all.
            My first five years was about owning a burger van and window cleaning round. the next five years was about capital growth and leading on till today where the family now own a roofing company. it just takes hard work and not aiming to high at each stage. plus a lifestyle that allows you to save each year. A job is a Job you may hate it but if its a means to an end you do it.

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