The Liberal Democrats have claimed that a Government-run emergency loans fund is failing to keep up with the surge in demand from families in urgent need of help due to the recession.
Figures obtained in a Parliamentary question show that over 330,000 calls to the Crisis Loan helpline went unanswered in the last year. More than two thirds of these came in the three months to May, as the rate of unemployment rose sharply.
The findings come on the back of The Social Fund’s Annual Report which found that half a million requests for crisis loans were turned down last year after an increase of more than 40% in the number of applications.
Liberal Democrat Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Steve Webb said: “People who apply for crisis loans are desperate and have nowhere else to turn. Too often they cannot get through or are turned away when they should be getting help.