At 6pm tonight (28th March), the Crisis Loan emergency phone line will be shut down. This was the number people receiving or waiting for benefits could call in an emergency to arrange a small short term loan.
Loans were rarely more than around £60 and were recoverable by deducting a weekly sum from benefit payments. No more than three loans were permitted a year and even this was exceedingly rare. This emergency support, often used by people who had been victims of crime, was more or less cost neutral – almost all of the money paid out in loans was recovered.
Despite this Iain Duncan Smith has ended the scheme out of little more than spite. Whilst loans due to delayed benefits will continue – now called Short Term Benefit Advances and available through Jobcentres – the rest of the Crisis Loan scheme will be closed tomorrow. Local councils…
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