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Cost of living and child poverty support in Worcester

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Councillors are to be asked to support more cost-of-living support for Worcester residents and the investment of more than £46,000 in steps to tackle child poverty in the city.

Worcestershire has been allocated £7.9 million from the Department of Work and Pensions's Household Support Fund to help people deal with the cost-of-living crisis, and Worcester City Council is expected to receive £353,686 of that money over the 2023-24 financial year, starting in April.

A report to the Health and Wellbeing Committee meeting of 20 March recommends that the Council uses that cash to continue with a range of cost-of-living support and also allocates £46,800 from the Council's own funds for measures that will help children.

The Committee will be asked to back the continuation of a range of initiatives that helped 1,358 families to cope with cost-of-living challenges between April 2022 and January 2023.

These include a £100,000 grant to Worcester Foodbank; £106,000 in emergency support for single-person households to pay food and energy bills; and £78,000 for meal vouchers for pre-school children and college students during school holidays.

Other steps include the use of £60,000 to pay for accommodation deposits for homeless residents, and grants to help cover the rent of people over 65 who are struggling to pay their energy bills.

The Committee will also be asked to support using £46,800 from the Council's own funds to help families with children who are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis. The money would be used to pay for children's clothing, including school uniforms, shoes, beds and bedding, and also to support the Action for Children charity in providing emergency support to families.

Councillor Lynn Denham, Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Committee, said: "The cost-of-living crisis is continuing to have an impact in Worcester and many families are still struggling to pay their bills and put food on the table. These measures will provide important and much-needed support for local residents and I hope the Committee will support these proposals."

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