With colleagues in Treasury and the Department for Work and Pensions, we have been analysing responses to the government consultation on how local welfare assistance should be funded in 2015 to 2016. We have been looking at these alongside the Department of Work and Pensions review.
Local authorities will continue to be able to offer local welfare assistance from within existing budgets, alongside a range of other services for 2015 to 2016 if they judge it a priority in their area. It would be helpful to many areas to see how much of their existing funding relates to this. So today I can confirm that we have separately identified an amount relating to local welfare provision in each upper-tier authority's general grant, totalling £129.6 million nationally.
The government has always been clear councils should choose how best to support local welfare needs because what is right for Croydon will not be for Cumbria. Therefore this allocation will not be ring-fenced and we will not be placing any new duties, expectations or monitoring requirements on its use.
The government will carefully consider all responses to the consultation on this settlement, including those which relate to provision for local welfare over and above existing budgets, and will take these into consideration when announcing the final settlement in February.
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