UK to start giving food stamps, not cash, to poor

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Associated Press

Posted on March 27, 2013 at 7:36 AM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 27 at 8:04 AM

LONDON (AP) — Local governments in Britain say they will be issuing "food stamps" — vouchers for food and other essentials — to the poor to replace cash loans as part of the country's welfare reforms.

Many Britons with low incomes who qualify for emergency help will no longer be able to obtain cash from authorities, who will instead dish out payment cards for food, gas and electricity. Some will offer one-time payments for furniture and household goods.

Britain now runs a national social fund that gives small emergency loans to poor people to tide them over short-term crises, but that fund will be abolished next week. Instead, local governments must come up with their own replacement plans.

The Conservative-led government said Wednesday the changes will make the welfare system more efficient.

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