I am pleased to announce that the gross national loans budget for 2013-14 will be £460.7 million.
The national loans budget is funded exclusively by recoveries from existing loan debt and will continue to provide a national budgeting loan scheme until full roll out of universal credit to help those still receiving income support, income-related employment and support allowance, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, and pension credit.
I will allocate the national loans budget in line with the provisions in the Welfare Reform Act 2007. The aim is to control and manage the national allocation while providing consistency of outcomes for budgeting loan applicants wherever they live.
In addition, the Secretary of State’s directions and guidance on the discretionary social fund have been amended with effect from 1 April 2013 to reflect the ending of community care grants and crisis loans and the continuation of budgeting loans. This includes maintaining policy arrangements under which budgeting loan decisions can be subject to a further review following an initial review by an appropriate officer in Jobcentre Plus.
I will place an explanatory note about the 2013-14 social fund loans allocation and a copy of the amended directions and guidance in the House Libraries later today.