Cost-of living support for West Northants’ most vulnerable residents receives the go ahead by WNC Councillors

In line with the council's recently approved Anti-Poverty Strategy, pensioners, families facing financial hardship, and older people with disabilities in West Northamptonshire will benefit financially from a second tranche of the Household Support Fund.

At West Northamptonshire Council's (WNC) Cabinet Meeting last night (14 June), councillors agreed how to best use the fund within the scope set out by government ministers.

Previous funding has supported households with food, energy and water costs, and this extension will ensure that this support continues through to the end of September.

The £2,599,628 from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will be distributed by WNC and is earmarked to target the most vulnerable households and individuals in the area.

A third of the funding is ring-fenced to support families with children, while another third is firmly dedicated to pensioners. This ensures the people who need it most will continue to receive vital support to meet essential household costs.

WNC will work with more than 30 local voluntary and community groups and organisations to ensure the remaining third of the funding goes to those households in severe financial hardship and most need of help towards significantly rising living costs.

The money will be distributed, via various packages, to families and individuals in specific financial hardship over the course of the summer period.

Families who are eligible for free school meals are set to receive £20 per week food vouchers during the summer holiday and eligible households suffering severe financial hardship will get a £100 food voucher in a bid to offset the recent increases in food and fuel costs.

Over 6,500 pensioners receiving Pension Credit will also receive £100, with an additional Pension Credit Top Up of £50 for pensioners with severe disabilities.

The second allocation of the government's Household Support Fund will be shared as follows:

  • £20 per week food vouchers to go to 10,530 children, the intention being to cover the holiday period for children on school meals. School meal payments are expected to be made direct to parents via the schools a couple of weeks before the start of the holidays.
  • £100 payment voucher for 6,500 residents who receive Pension Credit. Residents do not need to apply for this and will be advised by post during July using the Pension Credit system.
  • Pension Credit Top Up for pensioners with severe disabilities - £50 payment for each registered recipient of this benefit. There is also no need to apply for this and those eligible will be advised by post in July using the Pension Credit system.
  • The Council will partner up with over 30 local voluntary and community organisations to distribute approximately £865,000 of hardship payments to the most vulnerable households across West Northamptonshire this summer, as part of a wider approach to support communities with the cost of living crisis.

Work is currently taking place to shape arrangements with the community and voluntary sector, and residents are encouraged to look out for further information in the coming weeks.

Matt Golby, WNC's Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care & Public Health, said: "Our vision at the council is for everyone to be able to live their best life, free from poverty and inequality.

"The cost-of-living crisis is extremely challenging, and this further allocation of the Household Fund ensures the most vulnerable members of our community will continue to receive vital support to meet essential household costs.

"We are working with a range of partners including schools and local voluntary organisations on arrangements to ensure this funding is received by those who need it most this summer.

"Further details on these arrangements will be publicised in the coming weeks but pensioners, families facing financial hardship, and older people with disabilities will receive the financial support they need."

Posted: Mon, 20 Jun 2022 12:22 by Ian Kelly

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