Friday, 13 July 2012 09:16



NORTH WALES Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has welcomed news from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) that the Universal Credit, as well as being simpler for people to use, will leave the average household £25 better off a week.


Mr Isherwood revealed the information in his response to the Statement fromthe Minister for Local Government and Communities, Carl Sargeant, updating members on the Social Fund.


Mr Isherwood also stated that the Universal Credit will provide greater work incentives for people, as opposed to the current marginal deduction rates of 90% when people go to work. 


He also referred to the fact that  in place of the discretionary payments, which will be abolished from 2013, budgeting loans will form part of the Universal Credit and Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans will be delivered by English local authorities and by the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales.

He said: “Will you welcome the information that I have received from the DWP today, namely that the current budget is being protected and that this is not about saving money but localising provision? There will be no cuts to crisis loans or community care grants, and provision will be more personalised, with decisions being taken closer to the individuals involved.”

Mr Isherwood questioned the Minister about the role Credit Unions could play in developing a scheme to replace the Discretionary Social Fund.

He said: “Of the 21 Credit Unions in Wales, 18 are members of the Association of British Credit Unions Ltd. How would you respond to their call for the devolution of the Social Fund in Wales not to be considered without exploring the role that Credit Unions could play in its delivery or support?”

As the Chair the Cross-Party Group on Funerals and Bereavement, which regularly discusses the impact of social funds on people at a time of bereavement, Mr Isherwood also asked the Minister whether  the Welsh Government will give consideration to the most recent research into social fund funeral payments conducted by the Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath, published on 27 June, in its engagement with the UK Government in this agenda.

He said: “Given the confusion regarding benefits status and entitlement to a funeral payment, and because of the fact that, as claims are submitted and assessed after a funeral has been organised, the current administration of the payment means that claimants have to commit themselves to funeral costs before they know how much, if any, the state will pay towards them.”



Promoted by Mark Isherwood AM at National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, CF99 1NA

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