Why it is important to add your voice to the DWP Consultation

We now have 4 days to positively affect the fortunes of the most vulnerable members of society.

4 days that will fundamentally affect the lives and the life chances of hundreds of thousands of families in this country.

4 days that could make the difference between security, stability and hope for the future for society’s most vulnerable; or a lifetime of debt, child protection orders, mental illness, crime, homelessness…..

The Furniture Re-use Network is part of the coalition of 20+ organisations, including other charities and funders, persuading the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) that the ending of Local Welfare Assistance funding in April 2015 will have a detrimental effect upon the most vulnerable members of society, and upon local communities. We are just the tip of the iceberg of concern regarding this funding loss.

But Government has made its decision. We’re now fighting for the reinstatement of a small financial safety net (£174 million to be precise) across 152 local authority areas.

The DWP’s consultation on the future of this funding will close on 21st November 2014. It is imperative that anyone or any organisation concerned about, or engaged with vulnerable people living in crisis situations must respond. Inaction will mean central Government funding for 2015/16 will not materialise; local authorities will close or severely curtail their crisis support schemes; voluntary sector organisations – already struggling to cope with families that aren’t meeting funding eligibility criteria – will buckle under the strain; and low income, vulnerable households will resort to payday lenders; high-interest retail stores and loan sharks as their only alternatives to obtaining essential household goods (e.g. beds) and achieving some semblance of security. Inevitably, debt problems will escalate.

The Government’s decision at the beginning of October to review the ending of funding for Local Welfare Assistance schemes was an encouraging development for the #keepthesafetynet campaign coalition; and it partially `rewards’ months of FRN network campaigning and local action by our members in some of the most deprived communities in the country.

But we also want more dialogue with more local authorities – from both the waste and welfare departments – about implementing partnerships with their local re-use charities.

By re-using unwanted households goods, we are able to support on average, 950,000 low income households each year. Many of our members across the country are currently supplying pre-used goods for the local welfare assistance provision. We could help so many more.

The one clear message that has come back from each local authority that we have interviewed over recent months, and one that FRN has been advocating since the DWP consulted on changes to the Discretionary Social Fund back in 2010/11, is that the supply of pre-used furniture items and electrical items is essential for the future support of those in crisis.

Don’t make waste a poverty issue.

Add your voice to the DWP consultation https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/local-welfare-provision-in-2015-to-2016

Join FRN in telling Government that Option 4 is the ONLY option for helping people in crisis.