Big changes to hardship funding begin

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Major changes to social funding in Northamptonshire start in April.

As part of changes being introduced under the Welfare Reform Act 2012, the government is abolishing the discretionary social fund elements of community care grants and crisis loans

Instead, the government is providing money directly to local authorities.

From April 1, the council will be offering discretionary support in two ways: emergency and community help, and independent living support. The council will not be running a system of cash loans or grants.

Cabinet member, Cllr Heather Smith, said: “The emergency support is intended to help in times of particular need but is not a long term solution, we will not be offering cash or loans, we will help people in an emergency situation – for example through food banks. At the same time we will offer advice to try and prevent problems reoccurring.

“We are also using the money to help people who need support to return to or remain in the community and we are working with our partners on this.”