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The Social Fund

The Social Fund is a statutory fund that makes loans and grants to people on low incomes receiving certain benefits. It can make one-off or emergency payments for replacing broken household appliances or to help with the costs of a new baby. Family Action has long argued for a reform of the Social Fund in order that:

  • The eligibility criteria for applying to the Social Fund are more flexible
  • More money is made available through grants, one-off payments and no-interest loans so that people are not forced to turn to very expensive or possibly criminal lenders which can drive them into further debt
  • More information is readily available about the Social Fund to those that need it

Social Fund ReformThe abolition of the Discretionary Social Fund and replacement with local provision is currently going through Parliament. We’re concerned about the impact this will have on disadvantaged and vulnerable families and upon our ability to support families in crisis through our Welfare Grants work.

Latest NewsCharities Call for Ringfencing of Social Fund Cash. Family Action has coordianted a group of 22 charities to oppose abolition of the Social Fund. We're calling for ringfencing of the Social Fund when it is devolved to local authorities. Read our briefing to Peers in the House of Lords and our joint letter to the Guardian.

Charities Express Concern About Impact of Social Fund Abolition on Domestic Abuse Survivors. Family Action, Women's Aid and Platform 51 express concern to Home Secretary and Minister for Women Rt Hon Theresa May MP about how the scrapping of the Social FUnd will impact women and children fleeing domestic abuse.


"We know from our family services and our welfare grants programme which helps families set up homes after fleeing violence how precious financial support is to them and their children. We are concerned that our grant fund will not be able to fill in gaps in Social Fund provision after the reforms.

Helen Dent CBE, Family Action Chief Executive  


Read more about our campaigning to protect the Social Fund. You can download our response to the Government's Social Fund consultation here.