Bishop asks government to ringfence vital money

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THE Church of England’s Bishop of Portsmouth has urged the government to ringfence emergency funds that allow local councils to help those in crisis.

The Rt Rev Christopher Foster told the House of Lords he was concerned about the support offered for those who fall into unexpected temporary crisis, including women fleeing domestic violence, victims of flooding, homeless people and the elderly.

Councils have offered small grants to people from emergency funds called Local Welfare Provision. But Bishop Foster argued that the amount allocated for councils to spend in this way will be lower – and there is no obligation on councils to use the funding for this purpose.

He said: ‘My Lords, on moral, economic and practical grounds I make a modest request about a small but significant matter in this settlement and invite the government, if it cannot maintain the level of local welfare allocation, at least to ringfence it and ensure that those in crisis need are helped.’