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The Department for Communities (DfC) have issued an Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) on Discretionary Support.  This is an important consultation as Consortium research with women over a number of years has highlighted the importance of Discretionary Support to women and families.

Discretionary Support provides support to people in crisis or emergency situations providing important financial help for essential living expenses.  Research by the Women’s Regional Consortium on the impact of the Cost-of-Living Crisis on Women has shown that many women are struggling to afford the most basic of items including food and energy bills during the Cost-of-Living Crisis.  The research clearly shows the disproportionate harm that the Cost-of-Living Crisis is having on women and children and it is likely this will increase the need for Discretionary Support.

Women are more likely to need to access Discretionary Support as women are more likely to be in receipt of social security benefits, more likely to be in low-paid, part-time work and more likely to have responsibility for managing household budgets and paying household/children’s bills.  This is evidenced by the statistics outlined in the EQIA document which show that 67% of those in receipt of Discretionary Support Grants are women.  Given these statistics it is clear that there will be a greater adverse impact on women if the cuts to Discretionary Support proposed in this EQIA go ahead.

Siobhán will be submitting a Consortium response to this consultation for the initial date of 11th August.  If you wish to add anything to this submission please contact Siobhán as soon as possible at or if you wish to make your own submission you can contact Siobhán who has prepared some notes which may be helpful in drafting your own response.

The EQIA is available on the DfC website with an initial date for responses of 11th August and a final date for responses of 25th September 2023