The safety net beneath the safety net?
The North East Child Poverty Commission (NECPC) is calling for the Government to strengthen both the national and local welfare safety nets if it wants to build back better from the Covid-19 pandemic, after new analysis has revealed the dramatic decline in funding for ‘local welfare assistance’ in the North East over the last decade.
This new report from NECPC acknowledges and strongly echoes the recommendations made by GMPA on strengthening the role of local welfare assistance schemes (LWAS).
NECPC urges local authorities to use their full LWAS budgets each year and review how they communicate their LWAS. Also review the different routes for accessing their LWAS, with no scheme having online-only applications. To reconsider the practice of not providing cash awards, to promote dignity, choice and autonomy; to reverse the entrenchment of emergency food aid as a response to poverty and to consider working with other local councils to develop agreed minimum standards of LWAS. They also urge local authorities to undertake all of this work in ongoing partnership with VCSE organisations and local communities, particularly those with lived experience of socio-economic disadvantage, to co-design improvements to local welfare assistance schemes in the region.
To read the NECPC’s full report please go to the website