Skip to main content

Social Fund

Volume 405: debated on Thursday 22 May 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list those items for which a social fund loan is available. [114364]

The discretionary Social Fund, which includes interest free budgeting loans and crisis loans, plays an important role in our agenda for tackling poverty and social exclusion. It provides support to millions of people on low incomes who need help with unexpected and varied needs.Budgeting Loans are available to people who have been receiving Income Support or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance for at least 26 weeks, to help with intermittent expenses which are difficult to budget for. Crisis Loans are available to anyone in an emergency or as a result of a disaster, whether in receipt of benefit or not, when they have no other means of preventing serious damage or risk to their, or a member of their family's, health or safety.The items for which Budgeting Loans can be awarded are not specified in detail; help is provided for a broad range of expenses for which an applicant may have difficulty in budgeting for from their benefit. Because a Crisis Loan is intended to cover immediate short-term needs, the help needed may be for a specific item or service or to meet immediate living expenses for a short period, usually up to 14 days.Part 4 of the Discretionary Social Fund Guide (para 6300 et seq.), lists the categories of need for which a Budgeting Loan can be awarded. A copy is available in the Library. Part 3 of the Guide (para 4700 et seq.) provides examples of the circumstances in which a Crisis Loan can be awarded.