Q: In view of the existing well established UK welfare system, should local Zakah initiatives be supported?
الجواب حامدا ومصليا ومسلما ومنه الصدق والصواب
A: Whilst UK Muslims have tended to send their Zakah funds to the needy abroad there is evidence to show that there are also eligible and needy Muslims within the UK. Thus, the emergence of charities that have a special focus on the UK is a welcome step and should be supported. However, it must be remembered that the duty to ensure that one’s obligation of Zakah is discharged correctly rests principally upon the individual paying his Zakah. Therefore, one should give Zakah to only such charity about which one is personally certain that the charity will distribute the Zakah correctly ensuring that it reaches eligible recipients in its entirety. Otherwise, one risks one’s obligation not being discharged. Unfortunately, not all charities observe the rules on zakat adhered to by the majority of UK Muslims.
If the recipient is eligible to receive the Zakah then to give zakat to such recipient is valid. If not, then not. See the following link for details: http://alqalam.org.uk/fatawa/zakah-fatwa/what-are-the-criteria-of-eligibility-to-receive-zakah. The welfare system of this country does not necessarily preclude a person from being eligible to receive Zakah.