Councillors to consider plans to help low-income households Press release Date: Tuesday 7 December 2021 email: email@example.com Councillors will next week discuss the progress of schemes to help tackle […]
|Date:||Tuesday 7 December 2021|
Councillors will next week discuss the progress of schemes to help tackle inequalities in County Durham and decide on the future approach for supporting vulnerable residents and their families.
Members of Durham County Council’s Cabinet will discuss the action taken so far to alleviate poverty across the county, the impact of coronavirus and how best the council can support low-income households in the future.
Councillors will hear about the work of the Poverty Action Steering Group to support financial inclusion, directed by its countywide Poverty Action Plan.
The council’s Poverty Action Plan was approved by Cabinet in September 2019 to support lower-income households facing increasing financial pressures as a result of the Government’s welfare reforms and longer-term challenges in the labour market.
Since then, in response to further welfare reforms and the coronavirus pandemic, a number of national policies have been updated and reflected in the work of the Poverty Action Steering Group, including the temporary “uplift” to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit, the furlough scheme and the introduction of the Kickstart job placement scheme for young people.
Cabinet will hear about the key interventions put in place to help individuals and communities to move out of poverty, and to access the support they need, including those which support people to access well-paid employment, training, welfare support, housing and food.
They will also hear about the work the council, and its partners, have undertaken to help households facing financial pressures as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, including:
Cllr Alan Shield, the council’s Cabinet member for Equality and Inclusion, said: “Many households in our county were left facing greater financial uncertainty following the coronavirus pandemic and providing support for vulnerable residents is a key priority for our council.
“During the pandemic our efforts to address and alleviate poverty increased significantly but there is still much to do.
“Vouchers to the value of £20 per child each week are being provided for children receiving Free School Meals during the Christmas holidays, while new dispersion hubs to provide low-cost surplus food are to be progressed across County Durham.
“Looking forward, we will continue to work closely with our partners, to support households through co-ordinated advice and guidance, to ensure no resident is left behind.
“This will include helping residents to move away from having to access food through crisis intervention support such as food banks, working with key providers such as the credit unions to improve access to low-cost loans and supporting work to address fuel poverty and digital exclusion.”
The Poverty Action Plan is currently being reviewed, in line with the most up-to-date data and intelligence, and the Poverty Action Steering Group aim to present an updated plan to Cabinet for consideration in March 2022.
Cabinet will meet virtually at 9.30am on Wednesday 15 December. Members of the public can view the meeting on the council’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/DurhamCouncil