Targeted financial support to help residents struggling with cost of living
Due for approval by councillors in July, the new £1 million Cost of Living Assistance Fund will help households struggling to pay bills, with grants available to help pay for food and energy.
This funding is in addition to support announced by the government and the Household Support Fund which will provide food vouchers for residents who receive certain benefits. These vouchers will be provided to eligible households shortly.
As part of the new scheme, one-off grants would be available for up to the following amounts:
Up to £1,000 for those on a household income of between £0 and £15,000
Up to £500 for those on a household income of between £15,001 and £20,000
Up to £200 for those on a household income of between £20,001 and £25,000.
Up to 25% of the grant can be used to buy food with payments made through vouchers or a Post Office payout code which allows cash to be withdrawn at a post office branch. The remaining funding will be allocated for support with rising energy costs. These payments can be made directly to the supplier or paid through a Post Office payout code.
Grants will be awarded on a first come first served basis so the scheme may close earlier if the funding has been fully allocated.
Leader of the Council Cllr Simon Bound said: “We know this is a difficult time with rising household costs and energy bills set to increase further in the autumn and it is important as a council that we do something to help.
“As well as the support from the government, we are committed to providing additional financial help for families who are struggling to pay for food, energy and other living costs. Following approval of the scheme, we will be working hard to launch this support as soon as possible for eligible households.”
Cabinet Member for Finance and Property Cllr John Izett added: “As a result of our careful management of council finances, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, our financial outlook is more positive than expected when we set our budget for 2021/22.
“At this time of pressure on family finances, I am pleased that this council can afford to re-direct these funds to support residents hardest hit by the rise in the cost of living.”
More information on the scheme will be available shortly at www.basingstoke.gov.uk/costofliving or on the council’s social media channels @BasingstokeGov on Facebook and Twitter.