Council warns of welfare reform impact
Archived news: published on Friday 22 Jun 2012 by Fife Council
Fifers could lose up to £40 million following the UK Government’s welfare reforms, according to a report prepared for the council’s Executive Committee.
With around 40,000 people receiving welfare benefits in the Kingdom, individuals, families, communities and the Fife economy will be hard hit by changes to the system.
Depute Leader of Fife Council and Executive Spokesperson for Housing, Communities & Local Services, David Ross said: “We want to wage war on child poverty and inequality in our communities, but these changes will plunge more families into debt and financial despair.
“All the evidence officers have gathered shows that more people will be worse off. And the greatest impact will be on the communities which are already the most disadvantaged.
“As individual households suffer, so will the local economy. People on lower incomes tend to spend their money closer to home and, if they have £40 million less in their pockets, that’s also a huge loss to local shops and businesses.”
The biggest changes to the welfare system are due to take effect next year (2013) but the council is urging people to be informed and prepared.
Continued Mr Ross, “This is a national issue and information is available from the Department for Work and Pensions, Jobcentre Plus and a range of independent agencies. There’s a lot of information about welfare reform on the DWP website and if you can’t access the internet at home, there are computers in our libraries and staff on hand who can help you get online.
“It’s also important to make sure you’re claiming all the benefits that you’re entitled to, because those who can least afford to are often going without.
”The council has no control over welfare reform, but we’re using the information we have about Fife’s benefit recipients and our local communities to plan for the impact these changes will have. We’ll be looking at the support we can offer locally and at how we can adapt council services to cope with people’s changing needs.
“I know people are worried about their finances, their families and their homes. The council will keep in touch with its tenants and people who get housing or council tax benefit to help them understand the changes, before they’re affected. And we will work with other local agencies to minimise hardship throughout our communities.”
For more information about welfare reform see www.dwp.gov.uk/policy
For more information contactRobert McGregor, Sustainable Communities Programme Manager
Tel: 08451 55 55 55 + Ext 44 22 63 Contact Robert McGregor online
By Post: Fife Council, Fife Council Brunton House, High Street, Cowdenbeath, KY4 9QU
Cllr. David Ross, Depute Leader
Tel: 08451 55 55 55 + Ext 44 24 03 Contact David Ross online
By Post: Fife Council,