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Social Fund

Volume 489: debated on Thursday 19 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much of the funds lent under the (a) budgeting loans scheme and (b) crisis loan scheme were overdue for repayment in each of the last three financial years for which figures are available. (263820)

Standard repayment terms for social fund loans are 104 weeks, and in exceptional circumstances this can be extended to 130 weeks. Recoveries can also be rescheduled for a number of reasons including a customer experiencing hardship or entering custody or care.

Amount overdue1

£ million

Budgeting loans

Crisis loans










1 Over two years old.

From 2006, as part of a policy designed to make the social fund more accessible to customers and make the repayment terms less onerous, the amounts people might borrow were increased by 50 per cent. and the repayment terms extended. Accordingly the amounts, lent and outstanding, grew as a consequence of these changes.

Around £8 billion in loans has been awarded since 1988, of which £900 million remains outstanding. Only £38 million (0.5 per cent.) has been written off to date and recoveries continue to be pursued beyond the 104 and 130 weeks date for both on and off benefit customers.