Cost-of living support for West Northants’ most vulnerable residents to be proposed at next week’s council meeting
09 June 2022
In line with the council’s recently approved Anti-Poverty Strategy, pensioners, families facing financial hardship and older people with disabilities in West Northamptonshire are set to benefit from a second tranche of the Household Support Fund.
The £2,599,628, from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), will be distributed by West Northamptonshire Council and is earmarked to continue to target the most vulnerable households and individuals in the authority, having helped thousands of families since its launch in September last year.
Councillors will meet at a Cabinet Meeting on 14 June to determine 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.
A third of the funding is already 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.
In line with its recently approved Anti-Poverty Strategy, West Northamptonshire Council is proposing to distribute the remainder of the money to those households in most need of help towards significantly rising living costs and households demonstrating severe financial hardship. Councillors will decide whether or not to back the proposal that the money will be distributed, via various packages, to families and individuals in specific financial hardship over the course of the summer period.
If proposals are approved, families who are eligible for free school meals will receive £20 per week school vouchers during the summer holiday. Plans could also mean that eligible households 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 could also receive £100, with a proposed additional Pension Credit Top Up of £50 for pensioners with severe disabilities.
The exact proposed allocation of the Household Support Fund (2) is 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
- £100 payment for 6,500 residents who receive Pension Credit
- Pension Credit Top Up for pensioners with severe disabilities - £50 payment for each recipient
- Payments to Pensioners who are not on Pension Credit but suffering severe financial hardship and identified through appropriate voluntary agencies
- A maximum of £100 food voucher to each eligible household to offset the recent increases in food and fuel
School meal payments are expected to be made a couple of weeks before the start of the holidays, with payments for pensioners planned to take place in July. Work continues on shaping arrangements with community organisations to distribute food vouchers to eligible households, with a view to this being ready from late July / early August.
“I am proud to have been a part of signing up to an Anti-Poverty Strategy for West Northamptonshire and this Household Support Fund presents an opportunity to start to progress on some of the actions and priorities we have already outlined as a council. We know the pressures many are currently facing, especially pensioners, people with disabilities and families with children, which is why it is proposed that this fund targets support to these most vulnerable households across the county.”Matt Golby, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care & Public Health
“Our Vision is for a fairer and more inclusive West Northamptonshire, where everyone is able to live their best life, prosperous and fulfilling, free from poverty and inequality."
If the proposals are accepted, details of how to access the available funds will be publicised in the coming weeks.