The first obstruction, which the Social Fund confronted to, was how to match up to those aims in the presence of limited cash availability which is not only separately administered but also it by no means affect the Income Support scheme. With such hindrances in the Social Fund schemes, it was not possible to remain committed to the aim at providing help to the most vulnerable people in the society. So, after calling the inquiry on 14 December 2000 and receiving many memoranda the Social Fund split up into two parts:
If we examine the Social Fund in the light of the helping the needy applicant, the facts cannot be ignored that whatever be the consequences of the fund, this system despite all the Acts and Regulations aimed at helping the poor, is causing difficulties and problems for those families who are at financial risks. However on the other hand, one can easily analyse to what extent the Government is facing crises in the funds injection.
The Regulated Social Fund is responsible for Sure Start Maternity Grants (300), Funeral Payments (burial/cremation charges plus up to 600), Winter Fuel Payments (200 per household) and Cold Weather payments. The total budget for these payments in 1999-2000 was 815m 1. The discretionary Social Fund is responsible for awarding Budgeting loans, Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans while the Regulated or non-discretionary part of the Social Fund is divided into Funeral Payments, Cold Weather Payments, Sure Start maternity Grant and Winter Fuel Payments.
1. Budgeting Loans - 1.7 million applications and 1.3 million payments in 2003-04. Total expenditure of 484 million 2.
2. Crisis Loans - 1.4 million applications and 1.1 million payments in 2003-04. Total expenditure of 85 million 3.
3. Community Care Grants - 589,000 applications and 256,000 payments in 2003-04. Total expenditure of 118 million 4.
4. Funeral payments - 73,000 applications and 46,000 payments in 2003-04. Total expenditure of 47 million 5.
5. Sure Start Maternity Grants - 317,000 applications and 238,000 payments in 2003-04. Total expenditure of 120 million 6.
6. Cold Weather Payments - 418,000 payments in 2003-04. Total expenditure of 3.5 million 7.
7. Winter Fuel Payments - Paid automatically to 11 million people in 2003-04. Total expenditure of 1.9 billion 8.
"Apart from satisfying the rules for an award from the Discretionary Social Fund you may still be refused, or offered less money, because of budgetary constraints. Payment of Budgeting and Crisis Loans can also be refused on the grounds that you are unable to pay the loan back" 9. "Social Fund loans are interest-free (in contrast to commercial alternatives) and repayment is
automatic in most cases, so beneficiaries avoid penalties for non-payment, although repayment rates are high (in general, up to 15 per cent of a customer's weekly benefit entitlement). In general, the Social Fund is reaching many people within groups most in need. For example, one-third of families on Income Support receive a Budgeting or Crisis Loan