Woman holding baby and looking at a bill

Council support benefitting through cost of living crisis

Oxfordshire County Council has been providing high levels of support for various residents throughout the cost of living crisis, with children among the beneficiaries.

With the cost of living crisis holding through the winter of 2022/23 and beyond, the council has provided support to children, low-income, pensionable households, carers and any others with council support coming on top of national funding.

Nationally, the Household Support Fund was one of the ways that communities were supported through the winter, however the council was able to agree support in September 2022 that would be provided in addition to this. This included the varied support programme for energy saving, named the Better Housing Better Health Programme. As well as this, the local voluntary and community sector has been provided with high levels of support.

Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, Cllr Liz Leffman, said:

“We’re proud of the support that’s been given to residents at this very difficult time. We believe it has made a real difference at a time when energy bills, food costs and other expenses have been spiralling due to the well documented inflationary pressures in the economy.”

Examples of support that has been provided by the council include:

  • £15 a week over the school holidays for the families of 15,000 children that are eligible for free school meals in term time.
  • A grant of £60 being paid to families of 2,000 early years children for winter 2022/23.
  • 11,800 low-income pensionable households being awarded £85, with this reaching a 90% uptake.
  • Emergency welfare schemes and application-based emergency support for 8,000 people, including 656 pensioner households.
  • A £200 grant being given to 500 foster carers and 78 shared lives carers, to cover increased energy and food costs.
  • Asylum seekers were provided with £5,000 to cover basic clothing and other personal items that were not available through the voluntary and community sector.
  • Oxfordshire Community Foundation’s cost of living grant funded 41 projects, with the aim of helping community organisations to tackle the cost of living and build resilience.
  • Citizens Advice was awarded a £210,00 grant to continue debt and benefits advice services.

Cabinet Member for Public Health and Inequalities, Cllr Michael O’Connor, added:

“Resource and effort are important but so is coordination. By working together with many organisations, we really have made a difference in these tough times and we’re grateful for the work done by those partners all over the county.

“We do have the resources in place to be able to provide similar levels of support to vulnerable residents in 2023/24 and plans are being laid down to do just that.”

The council has also help to support advisory agencies in the voluntary and community sector. Support has further been supplemented by the new Resident Support Scheme that has already supported 160 Oxfordshire households since its launch on the 1st June.

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