Up to 100,000 Norfolk households to get extra help through £13.8m scheme
Tens of thousands of households across Norfolk could be given extra help after council bosses revealed how they will allocate £13.8m to assist people in need.
Norfolk County Council is getting £13.4m from the government's Household Support Fund and will add an extra £400,000 to create the pot of cash, which could help 100,000 households.
It includes £7.2m for cost-of-living support, with families on low incomes to be given vouchers of £15 each month, plus an extra £30 in the summer.
That comes a year after the council sparked controversy when it decided not to fund a voucher scheme for children on free school meals over the Easter holidays.
The support package also includes £3.3m for the Norfolk Assistance Scheme, through which people in financial hardship who cannot pay their living costs can apply for help.
Another £2m has been passed to district councils to support those in need, while voluntary organisations will get £800,000 to help through the Norfolk Community Foundation.
A further £200,000 will be used to provide period poverty and hygiene grab-and-go bags in Norfolk libraries and £300,000 will provide debt and financial advice.
READ MORE: Pressure on council as petition urges free school meal u-turn
The council's Conservative leader Andrew Proctor said the fund had already provided direct support to more than 162,000 households over the past 18 months.
He said: "We’ll continue to provide cost-of-living support for families with free school meal-eligible children, and we’ll be investing more in the Norfolk Assistance Scheme."
Jamie Osborn, Green city councillor, said: "Last year, Conservative councillors ignored the plight of families who were struggling with the rising cost of living by choosing not to offer free school meal vouchers over the Easter holidays.
"Following a long campaign from families and opposition councillors, it's really good news the county council have now reversed their position and are providing funding for kids who may otherwise go hungry."
But he added the government should extend free school meals to all primary school children.