Welcome for Welsh Government announcement on the Discretionary Assistance Fund

Poverty A woman holding money
NewsFebruary 28th, 2023

Welcome for Welsh Government changes to the Discretionary Assistance Fund

The Bevan Foundation have welcomed a written statement made by the Minister for Social Justice, Jane Hutt, setting out changes that will be made to the Discretionary Assistance Fund (DAF) from 1 April 2023. The statement follows a commitment made by the Welsh Government in its draft budget to increase the DAF budget by £18.8m and provides welcome clarity as to how the scheme will operate from April. 

The Foundation is especially pleased to see the commitment by the Minister to increase the value of DAF  Emergency Assistance Payments (EAP) in line with inflation, with the cash value of payments set to increase by 11%. The Bevan Foundation had called on the Welsh Government to apply inflation-linked uplifts to all devolved, means-tested grants and allowances on an annual basis, with effect from April 2023. We are therefore pleased to see such a commitment made with regard to DAF.

We are also pleased to see the Minister announce changes that will make it easier for people to access support via DAF in line with our calls. From April there will be one set of rules for all EAPs. This will mean that all individuals can apply for an EAP up to three times in a rolling twelve-month period, with just a seven day gap between applications, as opposed to the current 28 day gap. A family in crisis could now receive a maximum payment of £111 up to three times a year. 

The Bevan Foundation have long called for a reduction in the gap between EAP payments to ensure that people affected by a change in their circumstances (e.g. moving on to Universal Credit) can get all the support they need at the time they need it. We are therefore pleased to see the Welsh Government action these changes. 

The Foundation will continue to monitor the progress made by the Welsh Government in implementing these changes and in exploring how families trapped in poverty can be better supported.  

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