Woking Council fails to support vulnerable residents

October 21, 2019 6:30 PM
By Cllr William Forster

Woking Council fails to support vulnerable residents

Will Forster by Woking Borough Council

The Lib Dems have called on Woking Borough Council to fully distribute money earmarked to support vulnerable people in Woking.

Central Government gives local authorities funding, called Discretionary Housing Payments, to help vulnerable residents who are struggling to pay their housing related bills. If this money is not paid out to residents by the end of the financial year, councils have to return this funding to the Government.

In response to a question from Councillor Will Forster during last night's Full Council meeting, the Council confirmed they have been given £162,457 for Discretionary Housing Payments for the 2019/20 financial year, yet it has only granted around half - namely £84,420 to vulnerable people.

Lib Dem Borough Councillor for Hoe Valley, Will Forster, said:

"When I asked the question to find out how much money Woking Council had received and spent under the Discretionary Housing Payment system, I had a feeling that there would be a gap between the two. However, I did not expect that the Council would have failed to spend half of this money to support vulnerable residents."

"I find it appalling that Woking Council has only spent half the money meant for local residents struggling with their housing bills. The Council had the funds to make many residents' lives easier, but is not doing so."

"Sadly, Woking has a history of not spending this money and having to return it to the Government. In a previous year, the Council received £94,459 from the Government for Discretionary Housing Payments, but it only gave £40,535 to local people and returned £53,924 to the Government."

"That is why I have asked the Council to ensure that none of this money is handed back to the Government this time and instead use it all to help our financially struggling residents."