York council chiefs to pay more than £1m to help people with cost of living

Cllr Nigel Ayre, top left, and Cllr Denise Craghill <i>(Image: Staff)</i>
Cllr Nigel Ayre, top left, and Cllr Denise Craghill (Image: Staff)

City of York Council is preparing to pay £1,037,000 to households to help support them through the cost of living crisis.

The authority says the support is aimed at a broad range of households in need of support, including those with children of all ages, pensioners, unpaid carers, care leavers, and people with disabilities. It will also include vulnerable households who are ineligible for other government support with the cost of living.

The council says it is writing to more than 3,000 potentially eligible families, inviting them to apply directly up until Thursday, January 5, 2023.

It says they could receive one-off payments of between £200 and £300. Successful applicants will receive these direct payments early in the new year, following "appropriate and robust" fraud checks.

A discretionary scheme is also inviting applications up until Friday, March 31, 2023.

The council says this aims to support all potentially financially vulnerable residents, and specifically families with disabled children who may be affected by the increase in utility costs. Those families with children on the higher rate Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will automatically be paid up to £250. Any resident can apply to the discretionary scheme, they do not need to receive a DWP benefit.

Anyone who does not qualify for this Household Support Fund payment will be signposted to other support available in the city, including the York Financial Assistance Scheme (YFAS), the council added.

Cllr Nigel Ayre, executive member for finance and performance, said: "This latest support scheme has fewer restrictions meaning we can support even more residents in need across the city.

"We will also look to target households which have not previously received any government support.

“Whilst the council has been allocated a little over £1 million, this is the same amount provided for two earlier government schemes which remains very small in comparison to the increasing financial pressures many households face. We will continue to make the case for more funding to be provided to support all those struggling at this time. At the same time, we continue to work with partners locally to support and give advice to residents during what will be a difficult winter for many.”

Cllr Denise Craghill, executive member for housing and safer communities, said: "The scheme is there to support households in financial difficulties with help to meet food, fuel and utility bills.

"The aim is to get direct payments to already known, qualifying households as easily as possible. Others can apply to the discretionary part of the scheme and don’t have to be in receipt of DWP benefits to claim. Each claim will be considered on its own merits on the basis of need.

“The scheme allocates £50,000 of the funding to additional food/fuel vouchers, as well as a targeted hardship fund for students referred by their university, £5,000 to York Energy Advice to support energy efficiency measures, and £10,000 additional support through Discretionary Housing Payments.”

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  • This York-specific article replaces another story published earlier by The Press which referred to a different region.