Cotswold District Council is providing even more help to people challenged by the cost of living. The Council has agreed to provide more funding to help people to pay their council tax and is giving a financial boost to an ongoing programme of support for local communities setting up local initiatives and food projects.
Councillor Jenny Forde, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said; “The cost of living crisis is affecting many of us from all walks of life and we have been working with communities to find out how we can best help as a local district council.”
“As we saw during the pandemic, our communities are really stepping up across the Cotswolds - our residents know their communities best and we believe we should be supporting them to provide & deliver projects locally.
“To help we are providing £75,000 to support local community projects that provide help to local people whether that be a food larder, community fridge, or simply a place for people to get together.
“We already have a good Food Bank network and we will not be setting up ‘warm banks’ as we do not believe that stigmatising language and labelling people is the way through this crisis. We all know people will be struggling to feed their families this winter and so we are working with our communities to set up more inclusive community events that bring people together at these difficult times.
“Also, as the district council we provide direct support. We already help people facing homelessness, provide financial support to those struggling with bills and support low income families during school holidays among our business as usual.
“We have also launched a campaign to signpost people to available support and what they can do to help… However, we know people will struggle to pay council tax so we are going to boost the support to help people who are finding it difficult to pay those bills.
“We will continue to do all we can over the coming months to help communities get through this crisis knowing that our residents are already doing so much to look out for their friends, family and neighbours.”
The support measures agreed have been put forward by the cross party working group set up to look at how the Council can best respond to the cost of living crisis.
The additional financial support includes a recommendation that council approves a new Council Tax hardship fund which will provide help to those in extreme financial hardship, who meet certain criteria and are unable to pay their Council Tax and the £20,000 put forward by the District Council will be matched by the County Council.
There is also a change to the Councils ‘Council Tax Support Scheme’ which is designed to help those struggling to pay council tax bills. The change will make more people eligible for this support over the coming months and has been designed with help from residents following a consultation earlier this year.