Council leader announces doubling of funds to help residents through Cost of Living Crisis
Published: Wednesday, July 12, 2023
- Crisis support funding rises from £5m to £10m.
- London’s most generous scheme.
- Careful budgeting ensures council tax stays low.
Council leader Simon Hogg has announced a doubling of the financial assistance provided to residents to help them through the Cost of Living Crisis.
The package of support for residents is increasing from £5m to £10m. It is the largest and most generous scheme of its kind in London.
It builds upon a raft of measures already in place to help residents through the economic downturn.
Councillor Hogg said: “This week we’ve announced that we’ll double our budget for supporting people through the Cost of Living Crisis to £10m – making our response the capital’s biggest.
“We know families are struggling to pay for basics like fuel and food and there’s no sign of things improving anytime soon.
“That’s why we’re putting another £5m into our Cost of Living reserve fund. We’ve also ringfenced more money to help refugees and the homeless.
“We’re funding free gym and swim and free school uniforms for low-income families.
“And over the winter we ran warm spaces to provide food and shelter, gave more funding to community and voluntary groups, supported residents to cut their energy costs and set up a Cost of Living hub.
“Now, using the insights of the Wandsworth Cost of Living Commission, we will look at longer-term action we and the community as a whole can take to reduce the effects of the crisis in the future.
“These changes make Wandsworth fairer and more compassionate. We understand the pressures our residents are facing, and I guarantee we will do all we can to help.”
“We’re doing all of this through careful long-term budgeting so we can keep the lowest average council tax in the country.”
The package of support already delivered to Wandsworth residents and now being extended includes:
• Keeping the same low level of council tax.
• A cost-of-living payment of £130 for pensioner households in receipt of Council Tax Reduction.
• Ensuring new council contracts include a requirement for staff to be paid the Living Wage – and encourage other local employers to do the same.
• Providing cash vouchers to lower-income families to help cover the cost of new school uniforms.
• Ensuring children don’t go hungry during the school holidays by providing food vouchers to those eligible for free school meals.
• Working with schools to deliver a holistic food strategy covering breakfast, lunch and after-school to reduce food poverty and ensure all children have freshly made, healthy, nutritious, high-quality meals.
• Providing more energy efficiency and water saving devices to council tenants and worked with internet providers to secure low-cost internet connections for struggling families.
• Increasing the level of funding in the Wandsworth Discretionary Social Fund to support residents facing hardship.
• Simplifying the process of applying for, and receiving, assistance under the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme.
• Establishing a Cost of Living Commission to look at other ways the council can support residents facing tough financial times.
• Creating a Cost of Living Hub in partnership with Citizens Advice, to ensure residents can access all the help they need and are entitled to.
Councillor Hogg added: “We are delivering a compassionate council that truly listens to its residents and businesses, that is creating genuinely affordable homes and safer, greener neighbourhoods. Our vision is based on fairness, sustainability and common sense. We are ambitious for everyone in our borough.”
For more information about how the council is supporting local communities, please visit https://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/cost-of-living-hub/