Councillors voted through plans, including over £2million in targeted financial assistance, to help residents tackle the cost-of-living crisis at the Policy and Resources Committee at Hendon Town Hall last Thursday 29 September.
The additional £2million is part of a wider £9million financial support package, which includes the household support fund, discretionary housing payment and school uniform fund.
The plans will focus on supporting residents with budgeting, accessing eligible benefits, pensions credits, direct financial support and working closely with BOOST to help people secure jobs.
It will also include additional funding to the voluntary, community and faith sector to enable community-led initiatives such as warm spaces and warm clothes banks.
Barnet Council Leader, Cllr Barry Rawlings, said:
“We’re focusing on those already feeling the effects of this crisis. We’re doing this via a number of immediate responses including a resident’s support fund of £2million.
“We’re also match-funding to develop a £300k community response fund to enable community-led initiatives and support networks across the borough.”
The recommendations approved by the Policy and Resources Committee includes:
- A £2m Residents’ Support Fund to provide financial support to residents in crisis;
- A new online application form that streamlines applications for Discretionary Housing Payments, Council Tax Discretionary Relief and Resident Support Fund which launches today;
- Refund of this year’s 1% council tax to all residents in 2023;
- Further funding to the voluntary and community organisations by match funding £150k to the Barnet Together Alliance Community Response Fund, providing a £300k fund to enable community-led initiatives and support networks to residents; and
- Partnering with BOOST to fund additional outreach workers who provide specialised advice to residents experiencing financial difficulties.
These measures are on top of activities undertaken to support residents including distributing over 10,000 flyers throughout Barnet, developing an online Cost of Living Hub and a targeted campaign to inform residents of support available.
It has also awarded over £2.5million to residents through the Household Support Fund (exceeding the allocated amount), supporting 14,462 children with meals through school holidays and provided grants to 171 families for school uniforms through the Mayor’s Benevolent Fund, almost tripling the grants provided in previous years.
Notes to Editors
- Breakdown of £9million cost of living support:
- Resident support fund – £2m
- Housing support fund – £2.5m (and £2.5m awarded to date)
- BTA Community Response Fund – £300,000 (£150,000 match-funding)
- Community Innovation Fund – £250,000
- Council Tax Discretionary Relief
- Discretionary Housing Payment – £1,445,000 (£626,000 awarded to date)
- School Uniform Fund – (£17,000 spent to date)