Authority’s leader left angry over decision

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THE government must rethink a decision to scrap a fund that provides emergency support to people facing short-term crises, a council leader has said.

Louise Goldsmith, the leader of Chichester-based West Sussex County Council, wrote to secretary of state Eric Pickles, speaking of her dismay over the axing of the fund which supports the West Sussex Local Assistance Network.

She said: ‘It is a fine example of cost-effective preventative early intervention very much in line with the county council’s belief and policy to help people to help themselves and we are happy for our process to be used to help other authorities.’

She was worried struggling families could be forced to turn to loan sharks.

She added: ‘When the fund is withdrawn we are seriously considering we will have to continue funding our Local Assistance Network. For us this represents an unfunded new burden of around £1.24m a year, which means we will have some unpalatable choices ahead of us.’