A staggering financial windfall of £11.2m has been put aside for families struggling with the high cost of living in Nottinghamshire.
The UK Government has extended the funding for the whole year to support the low income earners struggling to make ends meet to cope with the prevailing economic situation in the country.
Nottinghamshire County Council projects that about 40,000 households struggling to make ends meet are set to get extra support this summer and the forthcoming winter.
The fourth round of the Government’s Household Support Fund (HSF) is worth £11.2 million to cover a full year from March 2023 to March next year, 2024, and will once again be administered by Nottinghamshire County Council in partnership with borough and district councils.
“One-off summer and winter support payments, both worth around £100 per household will continue to support families with children entitled to free school meals as well as other households and individuals struggling with rising costs,” reads in part a statement from the Nottinghamshire County Council.
According to a statement issued by the Nottinghamshire County Council, the plans to share the funds include £3.2 million to be shared among, approximately around 19,000 households with children in receipt of free school meals, or with children five or under with an equivalent eligibility.
Another £3.2 million is due to distributed among 15,500 households, where one or more person receives or is eligible for Pension Credit.
The statement further indicate that yet another £3.2 million will be shared among any other households struggling with rising costs, particularly those who may not be eligible for other government support, plus an additional £400,000 is being set aside to help buy white goods for those who can’t afford an oven or fridge, among others.
£500,000 will be used as discretionary housing payments, and will be issued via district and borough councils to help those facing homelessness.
‘Via a referral process’
Applications for this share of the funds will once again be via a referral from a front-line worker such as housing officers, social workers or those working in benefit teams.
The first set of payments are expected later this summer, which will continue through to winter.
It is said that families in receipt of free school meals or Pension Credit will once again be contacted directly by the county council with details of how to apply for a seasonal payment.
Front-line workers will be once again help identify other households most in need via a referral process.
Nottinghamshire has already benefitted from three sets of £5.6 million HSF funds, each covering a six-month period.
For the third round of HSF which ended on 31 March this year, the county council delivered a one-off winter support voucher payment worth around £100 for each eligible household to use towards essential household costs, such as food, energy, and water bills.
This support included £2.6 million worth of vouchers benefitted more than 18,500 families with children eligible for free school meals or equivalent and more than £1.85 million was distributed to help more than 14,600 vulnerable people of a pensionable age; front line workers helped identify those households most in need, particularly those not eligible for other government support.
Adds the statement: “Vouchers worth £415,300 were allocated on a referral basis plus an additional £67,168 was spent providing basic white good items such as ovens and fridges for those who can’t afford to buy them or have them replaced; £210,000 used as discretionary housing payments to help those at risk of being homeless.
‘Easing financial worries‘
Councillor John Cottee, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “We are delighted that the government has extended this funding, which this time has been allocated for the whole year.
Councillor John Cottee said this helps us to plan the fairest and most timely way to get the funds to those who need them the most and help ease their financial worries.
“To help reach those who may not be eligible for other government support and are in need of essential items such as ovens and fridges, an even wider range of organisations, such as community-based support groups, will work with us to help identify those most in need of support,” he explained.
Councillor Tracey Taylor, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said the latest round of funding will build on the county council’s overall work to deliver support for those struggling to make ends meet.
She said: “This shows our continued commitment to helping households who are most in need of support, including helping low-income households with children entitled to free school meals or equivalent.
“This support is in addition to other continuing schemes to support the wellbeing of children in the county, including our Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF) which focuses on supporting youngsters to improve their knowledge of health and nutrition and encouraging them to eat more healthily and be more active during school holidays.”
‘Best place to live‘
The average cost of living in Nottingham is around £1400, which is in the top 31% of the most expensive cities in the world, ranked 2882nd out of 9294 in our global list, 192nd out of 277 in the UK, and 167th out of 231 in England.
The median after-tax salary is £2300, which is enough to cover living expenses for 1.6 months.
Ranked 139th (TOP 1%) in the list of best places to live in the world and 19th best city to live in the United Kingdom, and 17th most liveable city in England with an estimated population of 289, 000, Nottingham is the 17th largest city in the United Kingdom.
Low-income households are also encouraged to contact their local council to see what support is available for essential food and energy costs through the Household Support Fund.
‘Times are tough‘
Worth over £2 billion across its lifetime, the DWP fund is delivered through councils who are best placed to identify local need.
Mel Stride, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said: “These payments will give a financial boost to more than eight million households as we continue to wrap our arms around the most vulnerable, while the best way we can protect people from high costs is to halve inflation by the end of this year.
“In the long-term, we know work is the best route out of poverty, which is why we recently announced additional Work Coach support to help more people find work or increase their hours, “added Stride.
Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of the Exchequer, added:
“I know that times are tough, which is why a key focus of the Spring Budget was supporting people with the cost of living and helping people into well-paid work.”
“We are delighted that the government has extended this funding, which this time has been allocated for the whole year.”Councillor John Cottee
Cabinet Member for communities