Council leader unveils far-reaching programme of support to help local families through cost-of-living crisis
Published: Friday, July 15, 2022
Council leader Simon Hogg has unveiled a raft of policy initiatives to help support local people through the cost-of-living crisis.
In a wide-ranging policy document endorsed by councillors, Cllr Hogg has outlined a series of measures to help people living in Wandsworth through these challenging economic times.
The package of support he has identified includes:
- Keeping the same low level of council tax.
- Providing a cost-of-living payment of £130 per pensioner household in receipt of Council Tax Reduction.
- Establishing a Cost-of-Living Commission this autumn to look at how the council can support residents facing tough financial times.
- Ensuring new council contracts include a requirement for staff to be paid the Living Wage – and encourage other local employers to do the same.
- Work with schools to deliver a holistic food strategy for children which covers breakfast, lunch and after-school. This will reduce food poverty and ensure all children have healthy, nutritious meals. Vouchers will also be distributed to children who qualify for free school meals to cover food costs during the summer break.
- Proposing the creation of a Cost-of-Living Hub in partnership with Citizens Advice, to ensure residents can access all the help they need and are entitled to.
- Provide more energy efficiency and water saving devices to council tenants and work with internet providers to secure low-cost internet connections for struggling families.
- Increase funding available to support residents facing hardship through the Wandsworth Discretionary Social Fund.
- Simplifying the process of applying for, and receiving, assistance under the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme.
- Widening access to the Government’s Council Tax Energy Rebate scheme by making funds available to help residents who are not liable for council tax so not supported by the Government scheme.
Some of the policy initiatives outlined above will be subject to further discussion and committee scrutiny before they can be officially adopted.
In a report to councillors, he writes: “Wandsworth is a fantastic place to live. Its strong diverse communities represent the best of modern Britain. I want to keep Wandsworth special - and make sure everyone can benefit from the fantastic opportunities and prosperity it provides.
“We are committed to doing all we can to support our residents during these tough financial times. However, we know we do not have all the answers and we cannot act alone. In the Autumn we will bring together a Cost-of-Living Commission of wide-ranging, diverse talent to look at how we can support our residents.
“Over the course of a year this Commission will break out of the confines of the Town Hall and meet in community spaces to hear the challenges residents face and the ideas they have. Based on what they see and hear the Commission will develop a set of actions that we as a council, together with our partners, can take to support our residents better.”
He adds: “A very clear message was set on 5th May. Residents want a council that looks after the needs of the many, not a select few. Together, we will create a compassionate council that truly listens. That creates genuinely affordable homes and safer, greener neighbourhoods. Our vision is based on fairness and common sense. We are ambitious for everyone in our borough.”