Government gives council £2m to ease cost of living in Brighton and Hove

Councillors are being asked to sign off plans to spend more than £2 million helping some of those hardest hit by the cost of living crisis.

The government allocated £2.1 million from its Household Support Fund to Brighton and Hove City Council to support low-income households.

A third of the money is for families with children, a third for pensioners and the rest for households in need.

The council’s Policy and Resources Committee is also being asked to reallocate £231,000 left over from another fund to support families with children who receive free school meals.

Spacewords Brighton

They will receive a £15 food voucher for each child during the Whitsun half-term break and the summer holidays.

A report going before the committee on Thursday (12 May) said that almost 6,000 people are being supported by emergency food services in Brighton and Hove – and 17 per cent of them are children.

Councillors are being asked to back a package of new support services for residents on the council website called Worried About Money, which provides links to various sources of information and support.

And officials want the committee to approve the setting up of a Brighton and Hove Cost of Living Support Fund in partnership with the Council for Voluntary Services.

The report said: “The UK is experiencing severe cost of living increases, with both national and local impacts.

“The latest available data confirms that poverty in the city is considerably worse than before the pandemic.

“It is estimated that 12 per cent of households were living in fuel poverty (2020) while child poverty rates are increasing.

“Figures from the Department for Education show that 21 per cent of state pupils were eligible for free school meals in Brighton and Hove, increasing to 32 per cent in some constituencies (January 2022).

“Current numbers are expected to be higher, with protected groups and single-parent households set to be some of the most vulnerable.”

A number of causes of the cost-of-living crisis were listed in the report

  • Increasing inflation, at its highest recorded level since 1992, with the
  • Consumer Prices Index increasing by 6.2 per cent in March
  • Supply chain problems linked with covid and the contracting world economy, made worse by the Ukraine crisis
  • Energy and fuel price increases as demand exceeds supply
  • Tax increases to cover the cost of covid spending and lost revenue
  • Interest rates increasing in response to inflation
  • Wages and debt pressure following a long period of wage stagnation since 2007
  • War in Ukraine putting pressure on oil, gas and food prices

The report said: “Following the war in Ukraine, the UK National Farmers’ Union has warned that food prices will rise due to the conflict and the disruption to food output which may last for years.

“This is because Russia is a major exporter of fertilisers and has put restrictions on exports. Ukraine’s Black Sea ports are transportation hubs for exporting certain commodities, including grains, and they have mostly been shut.”

Wholesale gas and electricity prices have also increased by more than 20 per cent as global demand has increased while production has been lower than average.

In February, before Russia invaded Ukraine, the energy regulator Ofgem announced an increase in the domestic energy price cap from April.

The increase pushed average household bills up £700 to £2,000 a year for those on direct debits – and by more than 50 per cent for pre-payment customers.

The council’s Policy and Resources Committee is due to meet at 4pm on Thursday (12 May). The meeting is scheduled to be webcast on the council’s website.

  1. Chris Reply

    If only we could get some of that £42 Million back from the I-360..

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