Three-fold leap in emergency handouts since welfare reforms

PICTURE POSED BY MODEL.  File photo dated 8/11/07 of a woman holding her head in her hands. More than one in 10 people are now very concerned about the amount of money they owe, a survey showed today. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday November 22, 2007. About 11% of people admitted they were very worried about how they would manage their debts, up from 7% three months ago, according to financial website MoneyExpert.com. At the same time one in four people said their borrowings through mortgages, loans and credit cards had increased during the past quarter, with 9% admitting their debt levels had soared by more than 10%. See PA Story MONEY debt. Photo credit should read: David Cheskin/PA Wire  / despair / worry / upset / ill / bereavement
PICTURE POSED BY MODEL. File photo dated 8/11/07 of a woman holding her head in her hands. More than one in 10 people are now very concerned about the amount of money they owe, a survey showed today. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday November 22, 2007. About 11% of people admitted they were very worried about how they would manage their debts, up from 7% three months ago, according to financial website MoneyExpert.com. At the same time one in four people said their borrowings through mortgages, loans and credit cards had increased during the past quarter, with 9% admitting their debt levels had soared by more than 10%. See PA Story MONEY debt. Photo credit should read: David Cheskin/PA Wire / despair / worry / upset / ill / bereavement
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The extent of suffering in the Dales inflicted by the welfare reforms can be revealed for the first time this week as figures show a three-fold leap in the number of people applying for emergency handouts since changes were imposed.

Figures from Derbyshire Dales District Council show that, so far this year, there have been 114 hardship handouts in the Derbyshire Dales – compared to 98 in the whole of 2012.

A spokesperson for the authority said: “We have worked hard to minimise the impact of these changes on hard-pressed claimants by ensuring that no one has had to pay more than 8.5 per cent of their liability. A Hardship Relief Fund has been set up, granting relief on an exceptional basis for limited periods.”

But Cllr Irene Ratcliffe, of Derbyshire Dales District Council and Wirksworth Town Council, believes the figures show how much people are “struggling” with the reforms and how the overall policy is “wrong”.

She said: “In a place like the Derbyshire Dales there simply aren’t enough smaller properties available for people affected by the ‘bedroom tax’ to move into. They have no choice but to take the hit and people are finding it hard.”

If you are struggling as a result of the welfare reforms, you can call 01629 761188, email benefits@derbyshiredales.gov.uk or seek independent advice from the Citizens’ Advice Bureau on 0844 3752712.”