Bury City Council to agree on new cost of living support measures

The council is set to agree new measures to help residents cope with the cost of living crisis.

The advice aims to support people going through immediate difficulties but also to help them meet financial challenges in the medium and long term.

Among the measures is the granting of £100 to each pensioner who receives a tax benefit, around 4,700 people.

The new strategy will focus on several elements:

Food poverty – such as support for the development of the Bury Community Support Network; offering the Fit and Fed vacation activity program; develop Cooking Well for Less sessions.

poverty and well-being – support the Getting Help telephone hotline and the Bee Well youth prescription social scheme.

Finances and debt – provide ongoing financial support to the Citizen Advice Bureau, increasingly in the neighbourhoods; and working on the development of a financial advice recommendation tool.

Work and salary – become a real living wage employer; building on the success of the local Working Well program to enable people to access and re-enter employment.

Child poverty – coordinated work to increase the use of Healthy Start Vouchers; provide vouchers for school uniform and free meals during holidays.

Housing with fuel – Increase awareness of support through Energyworks, CAB and local energy council partnership, and work with GM Fire and Rescue to reduce the risks associated with the use of alternative fuels.

Digital inclusion as a catalyst – carry out partnership activity to increase access to digital equipment and skills and establish links with the Digital Poverty Alliance, including Tech4Families campaigns.

Cllr Richard Gold, Cabinet Member for Communities and Finance on the Council, said: ‘The people of Bury have gone through a very difficult time over the last two years with Covid, and are now facing huge challenges with the Cost of life.

“This is due to high levels of inflation, with wages and benefits not keeping up with corresponding price increases. This is particularly noticeable with regard to rising food and fuel costs, which have been driven by national and international factors.

“These pressures are not felt in the same way and have a disproportionate impact on some households.

“Our post-pandemic recovery plan must be more than just helping people through the daily struggle. We also need to put in place measures that will help people become more resilient over the long term. »

As well as payments of £100 to pensioners benefiting from the council’s tax benefit, the council is also considering allocating £630,000 to continue free school meals over the holidays; an additional pot of £120,000 for struggling pensioners and £175,000 for those of working age; and £40,000 to support food banks.

The council recently committed £240,000 in grants to families to help them buy school uniforms.

Cllr Gold added: “We must first target resources to those who need them most, but also help all residents to be aware of the wide range of advice and support they can access.

“It ranges from ways to maximize their income and claim the financial support and benefits they are entitled to, to helping people with advice on energy efficiency and cooking on a budget.

“Immediate action must be matched by longer-term approaches that address the causes of poverty and inequality rather than simply reacting to the symptoms of current pressures.

“We also need to look to upskill people, so they can get better jobs and be better able to weather the financial storms of the future.

“Key to the success of the strategy will be working with all of our partners, community groups, CAB and VCFA to get to the street level and identify the individuals and families most in need of help.”

Councilors will consider the strategy at the cabinet meeting next Wednesday, July 13.

You can read the full report here.