Independent Commission issues first recommendations on Cost-of-Living Crisis
Published: Friday, July 7, 2023
- Wandsworth Cost-of-Living Commission issues interim report
- Recommendations set out solutions to mitigate the Cost-of-Living Crisis including support with food, fuel and benefits
- Council to consider all recommendations on top of its existing Cost-of-Living support package
The Wandsworth Cost-of-Living Commission has delivered its interim report on how local people can be helped through the Cost-of-Living Crisis.
Wandsworth Council already has the biggest Cost-of-Living support package in London. The independent commission was set up six months ago to find out what longer-term actions the council and the wider community could take to mitigate the effects of the crisis.
The 15 commissioners have talked to more than 40 local organisations, including community groups, charities and policy experts. They have also gathered the views of local people through focus groups and an online survey. The commission is part of a new approach by demonstrates the council’s commitment to listen to local people and involve them in decision making.
Deputy Leader of the Council Kemi Akinola said: “'I'm hugely grateful to the commissioners and all who have been involved for their insights and sharing their stories respectively. All recommendations are being looked at by the cabinet and we are already making headway on some of them, but we know there's a lot more to do. I look forward to the second stage of the research and the final report which will ensure we are providing the right support, in the right way, to the right people.
"In the meantime, it’s clear that the Cost-of-Living Crisis is set to continue and our help will be needed for the foreseeable future. That’s why we propose doubling the budget for support by allocating a further £5m. We want to reassure Wandsworth residents that we will not leave them to struggle alone.”
The interim report sets out initial findings, with the final report due in six months time. Some of the recommendations are already being actioned by the council including supporting people to claim all the benefits to which they are entitled, promoting sustainable transport, paying the Real Living Wage, fuel energy advice, exploring a licensing scheme for landlords and closer working with the voluntary and community sector.
Other projects being explored include:
• Community Spaces – Warm Spaces have already been turned into Community Spaces, and could be developed to provide an ongoing programme of support including advice on energy, employment and housing.
• A Money Hub – This would providing intensive holistic support for families on low incomes by bringing different experts together in one place.
• Increasing uptake of Healthy Start Vouchers – A dedicated Healthy Start officer will work with families at Children’s Centres and other key locations to support them to apply for Healthy Start Vouchers, as well as upskilling other staff to make sure families benefit from this NHS scheme to help buy healthy food and milk.
• Food – The council is drawing up a Food Strategy to make sure local people have access to healthy, affordable food.
In the coming six months the commission will gather further evidence to develop longer-term solutions before coming up with a final report. Residents, business and local organisations can share their ideas by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The report and the increased budget were discussed by councillors at a meeting of the Finance Committee last night (July 6).
Read the report
Find out about support on our Cost of Living Hub