“Vulnerable people will suffer”
County Cllr Julie Gibson, the Labour Group Shadow Cabinet Member for Economic Development, at Lancashire County Council has called on residents to respond the current consultation on the Welfare Rights service. The County Council is seeking views on the changes proposed to the service which could see provision greatly reduced and possibly disappear totally in some areas.
Cllr Gibson said: “Having previously worked within a welfare rights setting, I know how vital the welfare rights service is in helping people to navigate their way through the complex benefit system introduced by the Conservative Government. At a time when we are seeing Universal Credit rolled out across Lancashire, plunging many into debt, we need services such as these to ensure that people are not left out of pocket and potentially pushed into poverty.”
She continued: “The Welfare Rights Service also plays a vital role in helping to support the local economy. This is because money gained by receiving the correct benefit or won back in successful benefit appeals is spent in the local economy; it is a fact that people receiving increased income do spend it locally.”
The budget proposals highlight the need to rely on the Voluntary, Community and Charity Sector to pick up vulnerable people using the services. Cllr Gibson questioned whether this would actually work: “This sector has been under pressure for years with cuts to grant funding and it is uncertain as to whether it has the infrastructure to do this; people will fall through the net and there is a real danger that vulnerable people will suffer.”
Cllr Gibson concluded: “I urge people to respond to the consultation and make their voices heard and I call on the Conservative administration to re-think these cuts and stop what will be a devastating impact on the people of Lancashire and the Lancashire Economy.”
The consultation opens on 15th April 2019 and can be found by logging onto the Lancashire County Council website and following the link for consultations.