Lynne Featherstone MP branded Haringey Council ‘a disgrace’ today, after revelations that they failed to distribute money meant to support vulnerable individuals and families.
Every year, local councils are given a pot of money by central Government, for distribution to the most vulnerable residents. They can give these ‘discretionary housing payments’ to individuals or families who are struggling with: rent deposits, rent arrears, reductions in housing benefit, and more.
If the money is not given out to vulnerable residents, however, the authority must return it to the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) at the end of the financial year.
It has just been revealed that Labour-run Haringey Council received over £850,000 in 2012/13 – and returned a whopping £233,000 of it. This follows a trend: In 2011/12, Haringey Council returned 45% of their allocation.
This financial year – the Coalition Government will give Haringey Council almost £2.5 million. The Haringey Liberal Democrats and Lynne Featherstone MP are calling on the Labour administration to make use of this money.
Haringey Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader, Cllr Katherine Reece, commented:
“The Government has given the Labour-run Council a lot of funding over the last few years to help people struggling with their rent bills but they have failed to hand out much of that cash to local residents. That can’t be right.
“This Government money is there to support people who are struggling and yet the Labour council has failed to pass much of it on to local people who really need the support. It would be a great shame if the Labour council failed to take up all of the £2m the government has offered them this year to support local people.”
Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, Lynne Featherstone, commented:
“It is absolutely disgraceful that Haringey Council have just returned this money to the DWP, rather than using it to help protect our most vulnerable residents.
“The Haringey Labour administration is quick to moan about the changes made by the Coalition Government, but obviously not so quick when it comes to helping out those in need.
“The Lib Dems in Government are providing record amounts of money to Councils to use on discretionary housing payments. I call on Haringey Council to stop wasting this opportunity to help the most vulnerable.”