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The Supporting People programme was launched in 2003 as a £1.8 billion ring fenced grant to local authorities intended to fund services to help vulnerable people live independently.

The level of the grant was reduced in subsequent years, and in the 2010 Spending Review the Government announced that the Supporting People national funding levels would decrease from £1.64 billion in 2010/11 to £1.59 billion in 2014/15.

In 2009, the ring fence was removed from the grant thereby allowing all local authorities to spend their Supporting People allocation as they deemed appropriate. Concerns have been voiced that local authorities are using their Supporting People grant to fund other expenditure – across 152 local authorities, Supporting People funding had been withdrawn entirely from 305 services, and reduced for a further 685 services according to media reports.

The Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, has written to local authorities to remind them of the value of Supporting People spending. In an assessment undertaken for the Department for Communities and Local Government in 2009, CapGemini calculated that the net financial benefits of the programme were £3.41 billion.

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