Warwickshire council chiefs set to discuss further help for cost of living crisis - The Leamington Observer

Warwickshire council chiefs set to discuss further help for cost of living crisis

Leamington Editorial 5th Oct, 2022   0

COUNCIL chiefs in Warwickshire are set to discuss what further help they can give residents struggling with the cost of living.

As the costs of necessities such as food and heating continue to increase, many people are struggling to keep up with their rising household costs. As a result, Warwickshire County Council (WCC) will be considering a range of options to supplement the help already available.

Measures put forward at full council on September 29 will be considered by Cabinet this month and include extending the Warwickshire Local Welfare Scheme, which provides support for the most vulnerable residents, convening a Warwickshire Cost of Living Summit, and creating an online ‘Cost of Living Hub’ to offer practical and financial advice.

WCC will also be joining up with partners, including district and borough councils and local voluntary and community groups, to better understand individual needs and offer the right support at the right time.

Labour Councillor Sarah Feeney, who proposed the Cost of Living hub idea at the meeting, said: “While we have limited resources locally as council budgets have been cut back over the last ten years, there is help available for people that are struggling.

“We are really keen to make sure it is as easy as possible for people to find support. We have suggested the council develop a ‘Cost of Living’ hub that expands on the information already available on the county website, and links to other relevant organisations locally that are offering help and support.”

The county’s Labour Group also put forward the motion to convene a summit, inviting stakeholders such as Citizen’s Advice, food banks, trade unions, charities and other organisations to take part.

Coun John Holland from Warwick said: “We want to make sure WCC takes the lead here, working with community and voluntary organisations. We are thinking that in partnership with other groups and partners, we can create a network of welcoming spaces where people can spend time, have access to Wi-Fi, free activities and practical support.

“Most importantly, we should be lobbying the government to protect our services. We are faced in real-terms with further funding cuts to Local Authorities because of inflation and we need to protect our children’s services and adult care.

“Our services have been progressively eroded over the last ten years because of lack of funding and now people really need those services.”

WCC Leader Coun Izzi Seccombe said: “The cost of living, and its impact on Warwickshire residents, is incredibly concerning. Many people who have not previously worried about money are now starting to struggle, and those that were already struggling are at even more risk. We are committed to providing a robust package of support to those who need it.

“We need to be sure that we are doing what people want and not what we think is right, which is why we are considering such a wide range of options. We are committed to working together with our partners and residents to help people help themselves and others around them during this challenging time.

“To ensure this information is available to all, a guide to help residents seek support to manage their finances and stay well this winter will be delivered to all households from mid-October.”

Visit https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/costofliving for information on existing support, such as help with paying energy bills and childcare costs.


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