Cost of Living Commission recommends ambitious action on housing, food, energy and transport

Published: Friday, December 8, 2023

  •           Wandsworth Cost of Living Commission Report delivered to Council.
  •           Short term support continues to be rolled out to fight the immediate cost of living crisis.
  •           Long term strategic support being developed to help those who need it most.

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The Commissioners delivered the recommendations at a Mayoral Reception at the Wandsworth Town Hall

Local people have helped Wandsworth Council lay the foundations of a long-term plan to support residents facing the ongoing Cost of Living Crisis.

Over the past few months as part of an independent Cost of Living Commission, 15 local commissioners have conducted in depth and insightful conversations with residents, local businesses, community groups, charities, professionals, and academics through focus groups and online submissions. Comprehensive recommendations have been delivered in a report on how best to support residents across the borough overcome the ongoing crisis – addressing the core issues of housing, food, energy, and transport.

The commission was formed in September 2022 as part of a new approach from the council demonstrating its commitment to engaging and listening to local people and involving them in decision making.

Deputy Leader of the Council, Kemi Akinola said: “The recommendations we have received have given us a greater understanding and valuable insight into what we can do in the short term, but also how we can best prioritise spending and planning in the months and years ahead.

“We know that the Cost of Living Crisis isn’t going away overnight, so we need to think strategically about what tools we can put in place to ensure nobody is left behind. 

“As we head into the colder winter months, we’re committed to funding charities and community groups through the Cost of Living Fund; opening community spaces across the borough where people can go to enjoy a warm nutritious meal, hot drink or to just catch up with friends and neighbours. Additionally, we are giving out warm packs to help people most in need. People can visit our online cost of living hub to find out what may be available to them.

“I’m pleased the commission has heard the needs of the community directly from our residents and this will guide us moving forward. As a council that is committed to being fairer, reports like these assist us to help those who are most in need.”

Since the interim report was reported in July of this year, the Council has responded to all recommendations, and actioned many of them already through the Cost of Living Programme and other initiatives. Examples include:

1. Utilising the Low-Income Family Tracker to deliver targeted campaigns through the Cost of Living Programme to improve benefits take-up.

2. Dedicated funding for crisis support such as fuel poverty relief measures.

3. Starting to develop a Wandsworth Food Plan

The full report focuses on more long-term recommendations which the Council and partners need to address moving forward. These recommendations address systemic issues and are designed to ensure Wandsworth residents are more protected against the escalating cost of living. 

The final report and its recommendations on how to address housing, food, energy, and transport were discussed by councillors at a meeting of the Finance Committee on November 30.

The Council plans to work with its partners to formalise a response and plan how the recommendations can be moved forward. These will be presented to the Finance Committee in February 2024.

A summary and full version of the report can be found below.

Summary of the full report

Full report