Policy document outlines wide range of initiatives
Council leader Simon Hogg outside the Town Hall
Wandsworth Council has unveiled a programme of policy measures which aim to provide support to borough residents struggling during the cost-of-living crisis.
The council leader Simon Hogg launched the initiatives after a document detailing the policies was endorsed by councillors. Some of the schemes in the report have already been announced.
The measures include the provision of a cost-of-living payment of £130 per pensioner household in receipt of Council Tax Reduction and a commitment to keep Council Tax at current low levels.
A Cost-of-Living Commission is to be established this autumn to look at how the council can further support residents and it is proposed to create a ‘Cost-of-Living Hub’ in partnership with Citizens Advice, to ensure residents can access all the help they need and are entitled to.
A holistic food strategy for children is to be developed in collaboration with schools which covers breakfast, lunch and after-school. This aims to reduce food poverty and ensure all children have healthy, nutritious meals. Vouchers will also be distributed to children who qualify for free school meals to cover food costs during the summer break.
The council says it will also provide more energy efficiency and water saving devices to council tenants and work with internet providers to secure low-cost internet connections for struggling families.
There will also be Increased funding available to support residents facing hardship through the Wandsworth Discretionary Social Fund and the process of applying for, and receiving, assistance under the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme will be simplified.
Access to the Government’s Council Tax Energy Rebate scheme will be widened by making funds available to help residents who are not liable for council tax so not supported by the Government scheme.
Some of the policy initiatives outlined above will be subject to further discussion and committee scrutiny before they can be officially adopted.
In a report to councillors, Cllr Hogg writes, “Wandsworth is a fantastic place to live. Its strong diverse communities represent the best of modern Britain. I want to keep Wandsworth special - and make sure everyone can benefit from the fantastic opportunities and prosperity it provides.
“We are committed to doing all we can to support our residents during these tough financial times. However, we know we do not have all the answers and we cannot act alone. In the Autumn we will bring together a Cost-of-Living Commission of wide-ranging, diverse talent to look at how we can support our residents.
“Over the course of a year this Commission will break out of the confines of the Town Hall and meet in community spaces to hear the challenges residents face and the ideas they have. Based on what they see and hear the Commission will develop a set of actions that we as a council, together with our partners, can take to support our residents better.”
He adds, “A very clear message was set on 5th May. Residents want a council that looks after the needs of the many, not a select few. Together, we will create a compassionate council that truly listens. That creates genuinely affordable homes and safer, greener neighbourhoods. Our vision is based on fairness and common sense. We are ambitious for everyone in our borough.”
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July 22, 2022