Eric Pickles accused of forcing vulnerable families towards loan sharks

Eric Pickles accused of forcing vulnerable families towards loan sharks

Four Tory council leaders criticise communities secretary’s decision to scrap £347m local welfare assistance fund.

Four Conservative council leaders have accused Eric Pickles of forcing vulnerable families into the hands of loan sharks by scrapping a government-backed emergency fund.

They claim the communities secretary’s decision to drop the £347m local welfare assistance fund (LWA), which is supposed to provide emergency payments to low income families, could lead to extensive problems for vulnerable people.

The criticisms from high profile councillors come as the party’s grassroots activists prepare for an expected collapse in electoral support in next month’s local elections.

Local authorities currently use the LWA fund to give emergency help to people facing crisis situations, including families under the threat of homelessness or domestic abuse. It has also paid for vouchers for people struggling to afford food and basic household essentials.

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