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SOCIAL FUND: An extra £2m is being made available to the Social Fund budget for loans to the needy, as a result of improved loan recovery by the Benefits Agency, junior social security minister Roger Evans disclosed. From today, each of the agency's 20 areas will have an extra £100,000 available for loans to people on low incomes.

COUNCIL CASH: David Curry, Minister for Local Government, announced supplementary credit approvals to allow councils in Avon, Cleveland, Humberside, North Yorkshire and the Isle of Wight to spend an extra £23m to meet their reorganisation bills.

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