Councillors have U-turned on plans to scrap a scheme giving vulnerable residents cash in emergencies.

Greenwich Council’s cabinet decided last night to reinstate the emergency support scheme, with it originally set to be written out of this year’s budget as the cash-strapped council works to balance its books.

The decision to remove the scheme had disappointed councillors, with the council leader telling a cabinet meeting last week that “nobody gets into politics to take money away” from Greenwich’s poorest residents.

However, a last-minute change due to the council getting more cash in from business rates will see funds pumped into supporting the service.

From an extra £2m, leader Dan Thorpe and co decided last night to put £750k into the scheme, and £1.25m towards overspent budgets.

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Community support awards are usually the provision of basic household items, new white goods, beds/bedding and furniture, rent deposits, and rent in advance.

According to council documents: “Payments have increased each month during Q3, with £13,500 paid out in December on emergency support grants alone. These are to some of the most vulnerable people in our borough.”

Speaking on Twitter, Cllr Thorpe said: “After nine years of sustained and constant Tory austerity, we’re at the bone.

“£1,400 per household less than in 2010. We’ve used the one-off resources to save this scheme for another year and will do all we can to keep it going.”

The council’s budget will be approved at a meeting tonight, February 27, which is expected to tell officers to find £2m in backroom cuts.

Speaking at a scrutiny meeting earlier this month, Cllr Thorpe said the finances were more challenged than ever.

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The leader said population growth, policy changes and government cuts are leading to “the starting of a perfect storm”.

“What this budget shows is that we are at the end of the line,” Cllr Thorpe said.

“This has been the most challenging set of finances that I can ever remember. Difficult decisions will be required.”