HC Deb 15 January 1996 vol 269 c415W
Mr. Sheerman

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to include a setting-up home grant financed through the social fund for the benefit of homeless people. [8261]

Mr. Roger Evans

The Government have no plans to change the broad principles of the discretionary social fund, which we believe uses available resources effectively to help large numbers of people who are most in need. Community care grants and interest-free loans from the social fund are made to many people establishing themselves in a permanent home in the community. In April 1995, we introduced additional guidance advising social fund officers to give particular consideration to helping vulnerable or recently homeless people moving to permanent accommodation to remain in the community if there was a danger that they might otherwise go into care.

We believe it would be a backward step to reintroduce a system of mandatory grants akin to the previous single payment scheme, which was open to abuse and spiralling expenditure.